The 12th-ranked contender at her weight is looking to end a run of two straight defeats when she meets Roxanne Modafferi at UFC Fight Night on September 12, having been on the wrong end of split decisions in both of her bouts within the past year.
Grinning as she tensed her fearsome arm muscles in the playful pink vest and UFC-branded shorts, the kickboxer and Kyokushin black belt demonstrated why she has a huge fanbase on Instagram and told her following of more than 134,000 on the platform to tune in to her scrap.
“What do you all know about that Swolvid-19?” she asked, subverting COVID-19 to declare herself “swoll”, the term used to describe jacked athletes whose hours in the gym have resulted in the kind of muscular physique that Lee will be able to call upon in the Octagon.
“I got a case of that and you better hope it’s contagious.”
Known for posing in a cowboy hat and wearing bikinis and sports bras bearing her ‘KGB’ moniker, Lee became one of the first women to feature on a fight card in Abu Dhabi when she suffered a narrow loss to Joanne Calderwood last September.
She has fought in yellow and red and emblazoned her Octagon attire with the communist colors and hammer and sickle symbol of the Soviet Union, dating back years to her first steps inside a combat gym.
Donny Aaron, her trainer and future husband, declared that Lee’s blonde locks and striking smile made her resemble a generic femme fatale “Russian spy” from films, giving Lee the nickname that has endured.
“Love the top,” wrote one fan, praising Lee’s “encouragement and help” as “so f*cking inspiring”. “Love the amazing woman wearing it even more.”
Another asked Lee how she had acquired a small dent that was visible to the right of her stomach.
“I had my appendix removed when I was a kid,” explained the American, before joking: “Or I could stay I was stabbed.”
Despite Modafferi being ranked five places above her, Lee is a heavy favourite against the 37-year-old veteran. Modafferi has lost 17 of her 41 professional fights, include three of her five UFC encounters.