Alexa Grasso is fully focused on her next fight at UFC 227, which will mark her first title defense in a rematch against Kyrgyzstan fighter Valentina Shevchenko, whom she defeated last March to capture the flyweight crown and become the first Mexican to do so Ultimate Fighting to win championship belt.
Mediotiempo had the opportunity to interview the UFC champion from Guadalajara, in which she shared that the factor that will make her next fight very special is precisely that it will be her first title defense. At the same time, he’s trying to hold on to something that, as he says, “took him many years to earn.”
What will make the fight against Shevchenko special?
“This fight will be special because it is my first title defense. It will be the first time that I am the champion and she is the challenger. “I have to defend something that I have earned for many years and that makes it very special.”
How did you get into mixed martial arts?
“I started training when I was 13 or 14 years old because my father and uncle, who were my first trainers, were already training and fighting. My uncle, who is currently my trainer, did MMA (mixed martial arts) and we opened a gym. I started training there and haven’t stopped since.”
“It was a very long journey full of work and learning. I’m very happy with the entire journey we’ve taken to get where we are.”
How did you prepare for the first fight with Shevchenko?
“It’s been a super long preparation since I competed at 125 pounds. Actually, in every fight the opponent is our goal, but we always think about striving for the championship. So it was many years of hard work, physical preparation, nutrition and technical preparation, and they were super strong to get to this day in the best possible way.”
For her part, Alexa Grasso commented on how it felt for her to become the first Mexican fighter in history to win a UFC title. The Guadalajara woman commented: “It is something very beautiful, making history is always something very difficult, but with a lot of perseverance, with discipline and very clear goals, everything is possible.”
How important is it for Mexico to have representatives like Brandon Moreno, Yair Rodríguez and Alexa Grasso in the UFC?
“I think it speaks volumes about the work of Mexicans that we always give our all and put our hearts into everything we do. We always try to be the best and that speaks for the great results we have achieved with all athletes. I know that there are many Mexicans who are after us with great hunger and great will to win. They are doing incredibly well.”
Likewise, Grasso said that in his opinion there is no different treatment for Mexican fighters than for fighters of other nationalities. Not only does he make it clear that although he encounters difficulties in all battles, he is always mindful of what comes next.
“In all battles we face difficult things, in each of them we encounter adversity, but I believe that the last one is always the most important and the one that presents the greatest challenge.”
In addition, the Mexican flyweight champion shared at halftime what her worst and best experience was within the UFC: “The worst experience I had was when they submitted me (Tatiana Suarez). “I don’t even have two Lasted rounds, they overwhelmed me in the first round, I think that was the worst experience I’ve ever had in the cage. The best part was when I won the belt (UFC 285).”
What advice would you give to Mexican girls and boys who want to become UFC champions?
“I think the only thing I can tell them is to be extremely disciplined, focus on their goals and make them very clear. Don’t let “small preferences” influence you, because if you want something, you have to be 100% committed to it. It will be difficult, it will be tiring, tiring and monotonous, but if you look at it in the long term, the rewards are gigantic than committing to the little things that don’t bring many results. So let them understand that it will not be easy, because nothing important in this life is easy.”
Finally, Alexa Grasso made it clear that she had not even thought about retirement because she hoped that she still had a long sporting career ahead of her. In addition to her goal of defending her title as often as possible and establishing herself as one of the most dominant fighters in the UFC.
“Of course I’m not thinking about retirement yet, I’m barely 30 years old and I hope I have a long sporting career ahead of me. The most important thing right now is to win my fight, be a very dominant champion, have a lot of title defenses and then time will tell.”