They call her the “Russian Ronda,” but what do we know about one of the strongest newcomers to the female mixed martial arts scene? While MMA has developed rapidly, not many Russian women have found their way into top organizations. Irina Alekseeva signed a contract with Invicta Fighting Championships less than a year after her professional debut.
A sambo practitioner who represents Team Raty, Alekseeva arrived on the MMA scene in March and has since put together three spectacular wins to draw widespread attention. Fans gave her the “Russian Ronda” nickname as a nod to her prior success in judo and boxing. The fact that her skills translated to quick success in mixed martial arts provides another link to Rousey.
Alekseeva was a three-time (2013-15) silver medalist at the Russian Judo Championships, a Russian and European gold medalist at the Sambo World Championships, a four-time Russian hand-to-hand combat champion and a two-time European and world champion in hand-to-hand combat. Her impressive resume lacks only a victory at the Olympics.
Because of Rousey’s high-profile losses to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes, Alekseeva does not care for the “Russian Ronda” moniker.
“Yes, the career of Ronda Rousey is magnificent,” she said. “She reached unprecedented heights in MMA, but I wouldn’t want to fight like her. I don’t want to end sadly, as Rousey did in MMA.”
In a recent interview, Alekseeva announced her intention to compete in two weight classes and a desire to speak to the Ultimate Fighting Championship as soon as possible.
“I will do everything to get into the UFC, even if the first fight they were to offer me would be with Amanda Nunes or [Cristiane] ‘Cyborg’ [Justino]. I see no obstacles. I will work and do my best to achieve my goal.”
Her manager, Alexander Skaredin, believes in her abilities.
“Irina is a versatile fighter, and this is a plus,” he said. “She loves to fight in the [standup] stance because she understands that it is spectacular and bright, but her base is sambo. Alekseeva feels comfortable in a cage. There is the potential to become one of the top fighters in the UFC. We will support her if she wants to fight in two weight classes. Now, the main task is to get a working visa. Then the date of the fight and the opponent will be clear. No specific opponents have been considered yet.”