There might not be a fighter on the UFC Fight Night: Vera vs Sandhagen card more pumped to fight in front of a big crowd than Andrea Lee.
“KGB” feeds off the energy from the crowd and she feels like that extra boost helps her be at her best when she steps into the Octagon.
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It’ll be an even bigger factor this weekend, considering her fight with Maycee Barber will take place in San Antonio, just a short seven-hour drive from home.
“I’m happy to be fighting in front of my home state. A lot of friends and family are coming to see me fight, so I’m glad to be here,” Lee told UFC.com. “My last fight here in Texas was great and I plan on coming here and doing the same thing: performing, and getting my hand raised.”
Beating Barber this weekend would be a huge moment for Lee. The 34-year-old flyweight hasn’t fought since her loss last May to Viviane Araújo, and plenty has shifted in the division. Alexa Grasso dethroned Valentina Shevchenko and some new contenders have made their way into the Top 10.
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“It’s an exciting time,” Lee said about the flyweight division. “A fresh face with the title and fresh faces in the Top 10. It’s good for the sport.”
Currently sitting at No. 11 in the rankings, a win over “The Future” would help Lee solidify her spot and likely put her in a position to compete with a Top 10 opponent next. It’s an important fight and Lee knows it.
“I feel like there is a lot of leapfrogging. A lot of new faces are joining the Top 10 and I feel like right now it’s kind of up in the air,” Lee said. “Congratulations to Alexa Grasso I think that it was awesome she was able to go in there, get her hand raised, get the win, and get the belt. I know there are a lot of hungry flyweights that are eager to get a hold of her - and I’m one of them!”
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“[Winning this fight] is a big deal for me. I’m coming off a loss, so I need to get back in the win column and then I want to go on a tear. I want to get back in the Top 10 and work back toward that title opportunity myself.”
That tear has to start against Barber, who is on one of her own. Barber suffered a significant knee injury early in 2020 in a defeat to Roxanne Modafferi and then came up short against Grasso in her return fight at UFC 258.
Since then, Barber has been impressive, taking home wins over Miranda Maverick, Montana De La Rosa, and Jessica Eye.
Lee has seen the improvements in Barber’s game since she came back from her injury and believes that Barber’s aggressive style matches well with what she brings to the table.
“She’s a striker and I like that. She’s going to want to fight. If she tries to take me down, that’s great, I’m going to be prepared for anything that happens,” Lee said. “That’s one of the best things about MMA; you never know what is going to happen. I feel like when we get in there, we are going to let our hands go and we’re going to see what happens.
“I think we’re both exciting fighters, she’s a banger and I like to get down, too. She likes to strike, I like to strike, and I just think it makes for a good fight. She’s eager to get out there and just bring it, and so am I.
“I think the fans are going to be pleased.”
UFC Fight Night: Vera vs Sandhagen took place live from the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas on March 25, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!