Andrea Lee has been ready for a fight for a long time now.
Originally expected to face Jessica-Rose Clark at Fight Night Milwaukee, Lee had to sit out after Rose-Clark was deem medically unfit to compete by UFC doctors. Fights falling through isn’t rare, but one getting pulled at the last second can provide particular frustration.
“I cried a little,” Lee said. “I was very sad. Very disheartening, upsetting after putting in all that work and then not getting to fight.”
The former Invicta FC and Legacy Fighting Alliance flyweight champion won her UFC debut in May, a unanimous decision win over Veronica Macedo, and now finally has the chance for her second win in Phoenix. Matched up with Ashlee Evans-Smith, Lee is unconcerned about the difference in experience levels.
“Just because she’s had more fights than me in the UFC, it doesn’t mean she’s had more fights than me in general,” Lee said. “I’ve had a lot of fights as an amateur and as a pro. And for me, fighting in the UFC, it’s great, it’s amazing, it’s where everybody wants to go, but I don’t look at it as fighting on any other stage or any different stage. It doesn’t get in my head.”
“KGB” is laser-focused heading into this fight, and we caught up with her to ask her about having her fight in Milwaukee fall through, what she learned from her debut and her goals for the rest of 2019.
UFC: It’s your first fight in almost a year, how are you feeling heading into this fight?
AL: I feel good. It doesn’t seem like it’s been almost a year.
UFC: How did this fight come about and in what ways was it weird to go through a camp, not fight and then go through another camp?
AL: It’s not too weird. It’s not like it hasn’t happened before. That was the first time that has happened for me – I got to the scale – and then my fight got scratched. That was the first time for me, but it’s not the first time that I’ve had to go through an entire fight camp and the fight get pulled the week before and then go back into another fight camp immediately. I’m used to that. It’s nothing out of the ordinary.
UFC: To that point, did you learn anything from your UFC debut where coming into this one, you’re better prepared?
AL: There were a few jitters, but the main thing for me in that experience was just (to) slow down and enjoy everything because it just goes quickly. When I went to walk out of the tunnel for the first time, walking out in the UFC, I just had to look around and just kind of take it all in and absorb it and enjoy it.
UFC: So now for people who don’t know what to expect from you or haven’t seen you fight, what can fans expect from your fight?
AL: Every fight is exciting. Every fight I’ve ever had is exciting, so I expect the fans to enjoy what they see. They’re going to get a really awesome fight between me and Ashlee.
UFC: It seems like people have high expectations for you even though this is only your second fight in the UFC. In 2019, what kind of expectations do you have for yourself and your career?
AL: Hopefully, I’ll be in the top 5.
UFC: What do you have to do to accomplish that?
AL: To continue to get better, and I just have to continue to keep fighting the best, and I have to win. So that’s what I have to do.