LAS VEGAS — It may seem a little odd to see a young woman from Texas whose trademark is the Stetson cowboy hat she so often wears with the nickname “KGB,” but Andrea Lee is long used to it by now.
It was given to her years ago by a teammate who thought she looked like a ruthless Russian assassin.
“I don’t think I look like a Russian, but it stuck and so here we are,” Lee told Yahoo Sports before her fight Saturday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN+) at Apex against Roxanne Modafferi.
Lee, who held the Legacy and LFA flyweight titles before coming to the UFC, said she’s made an adjustment to the nickname, even if she’s not going out of her way to make it public.
Ranked ninth in the division, Lee is coming off back-to-back losses and desperately needs a win. So to her, KGB stays for something else.
“My perspective now is that KBG means ‘Kicking Girls’ Butts,’” Lee said.
Lee is a diverse martial artist who has a black belt in Kyokushin karate and brown belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and judo. She loves to strike and feels her power and her technique is what ultimately will set her apart from her peers.
Her loss to Murphy at UFC 247 in Houston on Feb. 8 was frustrating to her because she felt she did enough to win but lost a split decision. She feels Murphy’s takedowns were given an inordinate amount of credit by the judges since she was able to pop up quickly after each of them.
She’s invigorated going into the Modafferi fight, a rematch of a bout she lost by split decision at Invicta 10 on Dec. 5, 2014.
While she said there are some things she learned about Modafferi in that bout, she’s going to go back to her roots.
“I’d say what I’m best at is my striking, and I love to strike and I love to stand and bang,” she said. “I love boxing. I love kickboxing and mixing Muay Thai in. I love jiu-jitsu and wrestling, as well, and I’m good at those, too, but striking is definitely my forte and what I enjoy the most.
“Fighting is my job and I love it so much. I don’t look at it to be honest like a 9-to-5 or anything. It’s work, but it’s also so much fun. A lot of people who work regular jobs don’t see it as work, but it’s my job. In order to make these high paydays, you have to train every single day and constantly evolve as a fighter and get better at the craft. And when I look at this fight with Roxy and compare myself between now and then when I last fought her, what stands out is how much work I’ve put in and how much I have improved over the years. I’ve had a lot of fun along the way, but it’s definitely hard work.”
That hard work, she said, is paying off and despite the disappointing losses, she thinks she’s going to be able to fulfill the immense potential she owns. She was among the mostly highly touted women from the regional scene to enter the UFC and feels that despite the setbacks, she’s a better and more well-rounded fighter.
But she knows it’s on her to do it when the lights go on and it’s showtime.
“I feel I’m ticking back up, to be honest with you,” Lee said. “I wouldn’t say I’m where I need to be because I have lost two fights in a row, and so I need to win a couple of fights before I feel I’m where I should be. I need to build my confidence back up and show people what I’m capable of and this fight is a good opportunity for me to prove that.
“I need to beat Roxy and even though I know that I’m not going to be the [top-rated] contender winning this fight, you have to win the first before you win the second. If I win this and can win a couple more in a row, I’ll be right there where I need to be.”
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