Andrea Lee knows exactly what’s on the line when she takes on Roxanne Modafferi at UFC Vegas 10 this Saturday.
Ever since making her UFC debut with a Fight of the Night victory against Veronica Macedo back in 2018, Lee has been a staple in providing entertaining bouts for the UFC’s flyweight division. But being an entertainer isn’t all that Lee signed up for when she chose to make a living out of mixed martial arts. She wants to win, climb the rankings and get a title.
So, after suffering back-to-back losses for the first time in her career her last two times out, Lee knows she can’t wait any longer to get back in the win column.
“For sure (there’s a sense of urgency). All I’m thinking of is getting the win,” Lee said. “I know I have to go out and get it. I’d hate to let it go to a decision, but whatever it may be, I’m going to push the pace, and yes, there’s pressure. I don’t want to keep slipping down the ladder.”
Despite the losses, Lee has only slipped to No. 9 in the 125-pound ranks. Maybe that’s because of the nature of her defeats. At UFC 247 against Lauren Murphy and previously UFC 242 against Joanne Calderwood, Lee fell victim to the judges’ scorecards and lost each fight by split decision.
Her preference is, of course, to get a finish and not leave it in the judge’s hands. But for any urgency Lee admitted to having before her fight Saturday, she seemed extremely calm and poised during her fight week interview. She had her reasons for why she may have dropped those fights but didn’t use them, or the judges’ cards, as a crutch.
Lee knows the heat at the Abu Dhabi arena during UFC 242 may have played a factor, but she’s opted into assuming that maybe it was her cardio that was the problem.
“I felt like my endurance was not that good for that fight,” Lee said about her bout with Calderwood. “And I remember being really exhausted going into the second round. So I started doing stupid stuff out of desperation. Even if it had anything to do with the heat, whatever the case, I’ve amped up my cardio from that fight.”
Before her fight with Murphy in February, Lee developed a staph infection in her shin that prevented her from throwing leg kicks. She adjusted by standing and having a trading war on the feet.
“It ended up still being a great fight, I just couldn’t throw as many kicks,” Lee said. “Wasn’t much to take away from that other than I’m tough.”
So what has Lee taken away from her last fight with Modafferi, which dates all the way back to 2014 when she suffered – another – split decision loss?
Lee said her takedown defense has improved greatly and it should be on full display since Modafferi implemented those in their first fight. The two have become friends over the years and even through all the trash talk she’s expecting another fan-friendly affair.
“I haven’t seen that fight in a long time until recently,” Lee said. “In my head I’ve been thinking it was a lot worse. My head wasn’t really in the fight, but it was actually fast-paced. We didn’t let up until the final bell and that’s probably what the fans should expect again. It’s not about redeeming myself or getting that win back, it’s just part of competing.”