Hailing from Guadalajara, Mexico, and representing Lobo Gym, Alexa Grasso has had star potential written all over her since joining the Invicta FC roster in 2014. Seven years later and the 27-year old finds herself climbing the UFC flyweight ranks.
As one half of the UFC 258 co-main event on February 13, Grasso added to her record with a win over Maycee Barber making her 13-3. The unanimous judges’ call in her favor would put Grasso on the first winning streak of her UFC career as well as her first since starting out 9-0.
“I feel the normal pain after a tough fight camp, I’m okay,” Grasso told MyMMANews regarding a potential knee injury after the win. “I’m full of motivation and analyzing the next fight camp goals I want to work on.
“I’ve watched my fight many times. I love it! I’m very fussy with myself and I know the areas I’d like to improve but I’m also amazed at how better I can be fight after fight.”
Utilizing her boxing brilliantly to outpoint the significantly younger Barber in the first two rounds of their fight, Alexa Grasso opened the eyes of many to her strongest skillset. Though, for years, her striking skills had always been sharp and not quite matched as evidenced by her performances.
In her lone three losses, Grasso primarily fell short arguably due to the strong grappling of her opponents. And despite mixing in her continually improving and always somewhat underrated grappling more in this win, it was her main strength that remained a talking point for many in the community.
“Yes, I saw them,” Grasso said of Daniel Cormier’s comments about her being the best female boxer in MMA. “It is nice to hear good things about the work I’ve been doing with my team, we are very meticulous to show accurate technique. When experienced athletes and my boss like my job, it tells me I’m on the right path. Those are the most important critics.
“I feel that the experience I’ve gotten through these years is showing me a clearer vision when I step in the Octagon. I didn’t feel counted out [after my losses]. Losing is never a good feeling. But I’ve learned a lot from that. I watched those fights with my coaches and we do specific training to correct my mistakes so they won’t happen ever again. To have the ground game now on my side is satisfying, I’ve been working really hard on that.”
Defeating Barber propelled one of Mexico’s finest to the No. 10 spot in the UFC’s official rankings. Now, she understands that a UFC title opportunity is closer than it was during her heights at strawweight.
Along her journey to get to this point, Alexa Grasso has been proudly carrying her flag and acting as a strong role model alongside her Lobo Gym comrade, No. 4 ranked UFC bantamweight, Irene Aldana.
Together, the tandem has helped boost the notoriety of Mexican MMA and lead the charge for the fighters from that part of the world. As two of the best women in the world dating back to each of their early days in Invicta, the benefit of having each other’s backs has been priceless.
“It’s lovely when I hear that I was involved in stories of inspiration,” Grasso said. “I hope all women are strong physically, mentally, and emotionally to achieve every goal they might want.
“[Irene and I] have trained together since our first competition. To share this journey with her is great. We’ve been through a lot together. She is taller and heavier than me so I have to put a lot of effort when we train. I have to be a good sparring partner for her too when she fights. Yes, I’m the small sister (laughs).”
“We have a pretty good friendship, we are like sisters,” Aldana told BJPenn.com in 2019 regarding her and Grasso’s relationship. “We are climbing together and we’re always supporting each other. She helps me and we help each other to stay motivated and we just – we’re like a family. We understand perfectly what happens in this sport as girls, we have the same problems that the girls do. And it’s important to have each other there and to have someone that understands you. She motivates herself by seeing me and I motivate myself by seeing her. I can’t wait to see us both with the UFC belt.”
As for what exactly will come next for Alexa Grasso, that remains to be seen. She just knows that another fight before the end of the year would definitely be ideal.
While Grasso has been an inspiration to many from Mexico and young women in MMA overall, she’s had some of her own to look up to – aside from her teammates, of course.
One, in particular, is her fellow top 10 flyweight and former strawweight, Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood who just recently picked up a good win over Jessica Eye. Both fighters’ careers very briefly overlapped in Invicta as Calderwood was departing when Grasso entered. At the time, the Guadalajara native rather enjoyed watching the Scot at work.
Perhaps someday they can now be a direct part of each others’ journeys.
“I watched her fighting in Invicta before I was hired too,” Grasso said of Calderwood. “It is or would be cool to fight with an athlete who I used to use as inspiration. We are good strikers so I can imagine how good it might look.”