Alexa Grasso postponed her education to pursue a dream, and she now has her eyes fixed firmly on the Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s strawweight title and champion Rose Namajunas. Up to ninth in the latest UFC divisional rankings, she must clear a difficult hurdle in her latest assignment.
Grasso will face “The Ultimate Fighter 23” winner Tatiana Suarez in the UFC Fight Night 129 co-main event on Saturday at the Movistar Arena in Santiago, Chile. She showed her fortitude by bouncing back from her only career loss and taking a split decision from Randa Markos at UFC Fight Night 120 in August. Now, Grasso has another opportunity to put some more of her firepower on display.
Ahead of Grasso’s battle with the undefeated Suarez, here are five things you might not know about the Lobo Gym standout:
1. She was once compared to an all-time great heavyweight.
During the co-main event for Invicta Fighting Championships 11, retired fighter and analyst Julie Kedzie casually likened Grasso to former Pride Fighting Championships titleholder Fedor Emelianenko. This resulted from her deadpan expression at some point in her highly entertaining fight with Mizuki Inoue. Beating the highly touted Japanese prospect was a huge turning point in Grasso’s career.
2. Her favorite subjects in school were natural sciences and morphology.
Grasso maintains that she was hardworking and studious in the classroom, naming natural sciences as her favorite subject. In college, she loved morphology. She was taking up physical culture and sports when the allure of fighting caught up and forced her to balance out everything. Eventually, she decided to delay academics to give way to her burgeoning MMA career.
3. Her parents have been supportive of her decisions, including getting into MMA.
The Guadalajara, Mexico, native is fortunate to have a supportive family. Unlike many parents with beautiful daughters, they understand why she trains inside the gym three times a day and risks her well-being in the cage. In fact, they have their own gym, and Grasso’s uncle serves as her head coach.
4. She is a fan of a former UFC strawweight champion.
It may seem a little odd to admit because she competes in the same division, but Grasso has no qualms about proclaiming her admiration for Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s style. Jedrzejczyk won her first 14 bouts and was for a time considered the top pound-for-pound female fighter in the sport. Her reign at 115 pounds came to an end with back-to-back losses to Namajunas.
5. At one time during her successful professional run, she almost quit MMA.
There was a time when Grasso almost left fighting, citing the rigors of training as one of the culprits. It was not just a casual thought that might pass after a few weeks. Again, Grasso’s family served as her biggest support system.