Alexa Grasso inspired by other women in MMA: “We were told that we would never fight in the UFC”
This Saturday, at UFC 285 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Alexa Grasso (15-3) will compete in her toughest test to date as she challenges UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko for the title in the co-main event of the evening.
Ahead of the fight, CBS Sports’ Shakiel Mahjouri spoke with the 29-year-old Grasso, fighting out of Guadalajara, Mexico, to talk about a variety of topics to include the challenge ahead and the state of women in mixed martial arts. See above video.
What move to flyweight gave Alexa Grasso:
“I started pretty young when I started fighting. I started to grow. I became stronger. I started to become more mature. I think it was a great transition for me. This change in my life and in my body and in my mind. I’m enjoying fighting so much more.”
Being inspired by other women in the sport:
“First, I have to say I’m a super big fan of women’s MMA. This is super important for me to be part of this community of women that are empowering and fighting. We were told that we would never fight in the UFC. So right now this is big. This is huge. I’m a fan of every woman that is fighting because they were role models for me. How can you learn if you don’t have any examples? It feels great for me to be able to perform against someone like her.”
It’s impossible to downplay Valentina Shevchenko’s legacy:
“Come on! It’s impossible. She’s been so dominant. She’s great. I can’t say any bad things about her. Honestly! She’s great. I can’t say anything wrong about her. But I’m always grateful for tough opponents because every single time that I have a tough opponent, I’m better. This time, I’m a lot better than the fight before and the year before and three years before. I’m super happy with my evolution and everything that I am doing in my gym and everything that I am doing in my life. This is the most important fight in my life. I’m ready to give everything I have to win that belt.”
Alexa Grasso’s biggest strength:
“Of course, I won’t say anything about my gameplan because that’s a top secret! I’m just going to show it at the fight. One thing that I can say is that my heart and my desire to win is the hugest I’ve ever had. I want to win this fight more than anything in the world. My desire and my will and my heart.”
New contenders at flyweight:
“The Flyweight division is growing so much. I’m always happy to see the evolution of these girls because when you see top-grade contenders, it’s like, ‘Hey, I have to train harder. I have to do things better.'”
Rematching Tatiana Suarez:
“First of all, I’m super happy that she was able to come back. I know that she had a big injury because I’ve been in those situations too. I’ve had a big injury and, damn, it’s so hard. I’m happy that she’s back. Of course, it’d be great [to rematch her]. If she stays at 125 and if the time comes and we are both around the same rank, why not?“
Following in the footsteps of Mexican fighter Brandon Moreno and Yair Rodriguez:
“It feels great to represent Mexico right now because we are having a huge moment. We’re also having the PI in Mexico City. I’ve known them for so long and it’s so great to see them achieving and having the belts right now. It’s a big, big motivation for me. I think Mexico is growing pretty good.
“We’re always there to try and help each other. I’ve known Brandon since he was a blue belt. I’ve been able to watch them grow and them watching me too. It’s great that we’re achieving great things. I think it’s cool to support others. I know how hard it is to have a training camp, to diet, to get in a cage. I know how hard that is and maybe all the fighters know that too. For Mexico, especially, I know it’s super hard to achieve in a big league like UFC or any other international league. So I think it’s nice to support others that are climbing hard.”
Timestamps of the above video, below.
0:00 – Teaser
0:11 – Intro
0:37 – UFC 285 fight week
1:32 – Success at women’s flyweight
2:16 – Advice to young fighters in the UFC
3:40 – Shevchenko vs Grasso preview
5:09 – The legend of Shevchenko
6:01 – Biggest advantage against Shevchenko
6:40 – New contenders at women’s flyweight: Erin Blanchfield, Manon Fiorot and more
7:41 – Suarez vs Grasso rematch
8:42 – Is Grasso being overlooked on the Jones vs Gane card?
9:29 – Following in the footsteps of Moreno and Rodriguez
10:40 – Unity of Mexico fans and fighters
12:00 – Rapidfire: Karens, Mexican Food, Athletes and backstory
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