Andrea Lee inspired by Roxanne Modafferi’s longevity ahead of UFC on ESPN+35 clash

Andrea Lee won’t do any trash talk in the lead-up to her next UFC bout.

The 31-year-old women’s flyweight contender returns to the octagon Saturday at UFC on ESPN+ 35 in a rematch against veteran Roxanne Modafferi.

Lee (11-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) fought Modafferi (24-17 MMA, 3-5 UFC) in 2014 for her third professional fight. Although Lee was new to the game at the time, Modafferi had already been fighting for more than 10 years and had almost 30 professional fights.

Six years later, they meet again, this time with both in the UFC flyweight top 10. Lee is impressed and admires Modafferi’s longevity in the sport.

“Roxanne does surprise me, but she does inspire me,” Lee told MMA Junkie at the UFC on ESPN+ 35 virtual media day. “The fact that she’s still in the UFC, has been in the top 10, like, she came back. She was cut from the UFC, went to Invicta FC, went on a winning streak and then got called back to the UFC, and she’s been in the UFC ever since — that’s super impressive and very inspiring to me.”

Lee, who lost to Modafferi via split decision in their first bout, is not surprised to be getting booked against “The Happy Warrior.” Lee had a feeling the two would get matched up again at some point.

“It doesn’t surprise me that her and I are matched up again,” Lee said. “I knew that was going to happen eventually. I’ve had people that are always asking me at the end of every fight, ‘You need to call out Roxanne,’ and I’m like, ‘No, because I don’t like to call out people.’

“But people have been wanting for this match to happen, and I always thought it was going to happen on its own time, and it worked out perfectly. We both lost to Lauren (Murphy), she was our last opponent, and I had a feeling that they were going to match us up. When I got the call and the name was Roxy, I was like, ‘I knew it. I knew it. I knew it.’ But I’m ready and I think it’s time. We’re both in the top 10, and I think it’s time we rematch. It’s in the UFC, and we’re getting paid a lot more. Can’t ask more than that.”

Lee is now a veteran compared to when she first fought Modafferi. “KGB” hopes to change the outcome this time around and prove she’s a much-improved fighter.

“I don’t feel like I’m going out there to avenge anything because that was so long ago, but it’s exciting to get to rematch with Roxy and show how much better I have gotten since then because when I fought Roxy, that was my third pro fight,” Lee said. “She had already something like 20 pro fights, so I was a young up-and-comer, and we took that fight on short notice because we thought it was going to be a great fight, and it was.

“I lost a split decision; it was close. I learned a lot about that fight, and I learned a lot about my career, and I feel like I’ve gotten so much better because I feel like I learned a lot from that loss alone and every loss since then. I’m excited to go out there and prove that I could win that fight. That night just wasn’t my night.”

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