Alexa Grasso credits improved UFC run to eliminating extreme weight cut, eyes fight against Valentina Shevchenko


Alexa Grasso didn’t start her UFC career as a flyweight, but she may end up as one of the division’s best when it’s all said and done.

The fast-rising contender recently improved to 3-0 competing at 125 pounds with a first-round submission win over veteran Joanne Wood at UFC Columbus. With the win, Grasso jumped up to the No. 9 spot in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings and could be closing in on a shot at champion Valentina Shevchenko.

Grasso’s current run is a far cry from her initial run at strawweight that saw her alternate wins and losses in six outings and struggle to make the 115-pound limit. Grasso is enjoying her preparation for her fights more than ever. She also believes that removing extreme weight reductions has made her perform better.

“I believe it helps a lot, because all my camps I was at that weight,” Grasso stated on The MMA Hour . “It was not like the last 115 fight because I was big, then I was small, small, small, and then big and bloated with stomach issues and all those things. It’s amazing that I can now eat every day, and have a man who is a good weight.

“I think that’s the most important week and it’s not good that you have to put low, low calories and low water. That’s not what I believe. I’ve seen on myself.”

Grasso was a high-prospect at 115 weights after her eight wins in a row, but she eventually fell below the strawweight limit. For a fight against Randa Markos, she lost three pounds. But the worst was still to come. Grasso saw a January 2020 matchup with one-time UFC title challenger Claudia Gadelha at UFC 246 cancelled when she came in 5. 5 pounds over the limit. Soon after, Grasso declared that she was going to flyweight.

Grasso recalled that there had been clear signs before the misfire. However, they are now a distant memory.

” At the start of my career, it wasn’t difficult as I didn’t have much muscle. But it became more difficult with age,” Grasso stated. “When I turned around 25, 26, I felt like my body changed and it changed a lot, so it was pretty difficult by that time. Now I feel good. I feel amazing and this is the third time I do this experiment on myself, that I’m not exposing myself to heat, I’m not using a lot of dehydration, and it feels good.

” I know I am smaller than my 3 previous opponents but it makes me feel good. It is not healthy for the body to heat. It’s not good for the head, it’s not good for the heart, the muscles. They are not meant to be on the heat, so I just hope that this can help a lot of girls that are starting or that are already having issues with their cuts. Sometimes, if you change your division, it’s good, and this sport is evolving and I hope that all girls can do something to be healthier and happier and better in our fight week and all the camp and the fights.”

Grasso claims that she doesn’t need to go into a sauna or fast during fight week, and her weight loss is mostly due to training. The lack of stress has actually made the cut easier for her.

With three wins in the flyweight division, Grasso is inching towards a meeting with Shevchenko, a bout that she said she’s willing to take sooner rather than later should Shevchenko’s upcoming challenger Taila Santos be forced to withdraw from UFC 275 on June 11 for any reason.

She likes the chance of winning an upset.

“Yes, of course,” Grasso said. She said, “I’m a very experienced person like her. But I work so hard. I know Brandon Moreno talks about the importance of hard work. When you have a vision. If you have a vision, you will do everything necessary to achieve it. I believe in myself and am working hard to prepare for Valentina. It would be an honour to meet her .”

. I admire her greatly.