Before she set foot in the UFC’s Octagon, Alexa Grasso was tabbed as a potential superstar who could make inroads for the Las Vegas-based promotion in the potentially lucrative Mexican market.
Grasso looked the part too, compiling an 8-0 mark that included four triumphs in Invicta Fighting Championships. Once she arrived in the UFC, Grasso struggled to find consistency as she alternated wins and losses through her first six appearances at 115 pounds.
It’s only recently that the Lobo Gym MMA representative has begun to deliver on that potential. After throttling Maycee Barber at UFC 258, Grasso has won consecutive fights in the UFC for the first time in her career. Both of those victories have come since she moved to 125 pounds. That the latest triumph came against Barber, who not long ago was one of the most highly-touted prospects in any women’s division, makes the achievement all the more impressive in the eyes of UFC president Dana White.
“She looked incredible,” White said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “Maycee Barber is a gangster. This woman believes that she’s going to be a champ. She comes back from her injury and she’s ready to go.
“Grasso is a girl that we were looking at a long time ago. We thought she was going to be the Ronda Rousey of Mexico. She had a couple of speed bumps in her career, but she’s on point now. Her punching is crisp and clean. The distance she kept. She couldn’t look any more perfect tonight going against an absolute savage.”
Grasso laughed when informed about the “Rousey of Mexico” comparisons. She’s aware of the expectations that accompanied her arrival in the UFC, but to continue her run of success she says she must avoid buying into the hype.
“Of course I want to be like that in Mexico,” Grasso said of the Rousey comparisons. “You also have to be intelligent, not [let] the hype and media and all the attention get more important than your training. I love to be hearing that, but I just want to be focused on training and getting better and better and better.”
Grasso was also well aware of her inconsistent track record in the UFC, and she was happy to finally string back-to-back wins together in the Octagon.
“I knew I had a win-lose, win-lose [record] at strawweight,” she said. “I worked very hard and I learned from that.”
Grasso has always been known for her boxing, but it was her ability to negate Barber in the clinch that proved to be the difference on Saturday night.
“We knew she is well-rounded so I had to make my name and say hey, I’m well-rounded too,” Grasso said. “If you want to go to the grappling, we’re going to do this. If you want to box, we’re going to do it too. We worked very hard in every area.”
In a shallow flyweight division, Grasso’s rapid improvement could have her on the short list of contenders in the near future.
“Do I think she’ll be a contender for the title? She was ranked No. 15 (in the UFC rankings). Tonight’s fight probably breaks her into the Top 10, so she’s got a ways to go,” White said. “But boy, she took a big jump tonight with that win and heading in that direction.”