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UFC flyweight Alexa Grasso poses for a photo in the UFC APEX ahead of UFC Fight Night: Grasso vs Araújo. (Photo by Kaylie Foster / Zuffa LLC)

Alexa Grasso's Beautiful Journey To The Top

UFC Flyweight Contender Alexa Grasso Is Ready To Shine Bright In Her First UFC Main Event.

From the moment Alexa Grasso stepped into the Invicta FC cage for the first time, the Mexican standout was projected to do great things and become a UFC contender.

Arriving in the all-female fight promotion at the age of 21 and brandishing a 4-0 record, Grasso collected four wins in 22 months to establish herself as one of the top strawweight prospects in the sport and earn a call to the Octagon. She made her UFC debut in Mexico City, outworking veteran Heather Jo Clark to earn a unanimous decision win, moving to 9-0 overall and seemingly validating all of the hype that accompanied her arrival.

But the next three-and-a-half years brought more hurdles than highlights and an equal number of wins and losses inside the cage.

Once a “can’t miss prospect,” Grasso seemed to be on the brink of becoming a cautionary tale about elevated expectations, the challenges of competing at the highest level, and the need to make adjustments to succeed.

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“I think that I matured as a person and as an athlete, and I think that helped me so much,” Grasso said on Wednesday morning, reflecting on the turbulent close to her strawweight run ahead of her flyweight showdown with Viviane Araujo in Saturday’s main event. “I learned a lot about myself, about training, nutrition, rehabilitation — which is the most important thing — and I’m so happy.

“When I was younger, I was a lot more stressed because I wanted to achieve all those goals, meet those expectations that people had about me. But right now, as I said before, I’m more mature, I’m older and wiser, too.

Alexa Grasso of Mexico battles Maycee Barber in their flyweight fight during the UFC 258 event at UFC APEX on February 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Alexa Grasso of Mexico battles Maycee Barber in their flyweight fight during the UFC 258 event at UFC APEX on February 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


“It’s not that I don’t care about others’ opinions, but I truly understand that it’s important to believe in myself and achieve my own goals first before the expectations of others,” continued the 29-year-old, who relocated to the 125-pound weight class in early 2020 and has since put together three consecutive victories to climb to No. 5 in the rankings. “Of course, that took a lot of stress out of things for me, and I’m enjoying the journey a lot more.

“I’m having a lot of fun and it’s showing — three wins in a row!"

Not only have those three victories elevated Grasso to the point she’s at now — a Top 5 ranking and headlining this weekend’s fight card opposite Araujo — but it has also brought those old expectations and projections of what she might be capable of achieving back to the fore.

Fight By Fight Preview | UFC Fight Night: Grasso vs Araújo

Her victory over Ji Yeon Kim in her division debut reminded everyone of what Grasso was capable of when she was dialed in and fighting with confidence. Her triumph over Maycee Barber illustrated that her technical striking, movement, and defensive awareness made her an intriguing new addition to the division and sparked the initial conversations about whether she was back to being a potential contender.

And her first-round submission win over Joanne Wood at the end of March made it clear that Grasso was, in fact, a legitimate threat in the flyweight division.

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It was never a question of talent with Grasso, but whether or not she would be able to put everything together, and now it’s clear that she has.

“I think it’s like anything: when you have a lot more experience, you feel a lot more comfortable,” said Grasso, who has done a great deal of work in terms of mental preparation in addition to continuing to sharpen her skills as a fighter. “Anxiety, nerves — you’re able to control all those things better, which I think is happening for me, and it feels amazing

Alexa Grasso Fight Week Interview | UFC Fight Night: Grasso vs Araújo
Alexa Grasso Fight Week Interview | UFC Fight Night: Grasso vs Araújo
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“(Working with a mental coach) has also been important. As a professional athlete, you always have to search out the best in order to perform at your best, and I think it has been great to learn how to control my emotions and my head.

“If you believe it, you can do it,” she said confidently. “Sometimes it’s your body that says, ‘I’m tired,’ but if your mind is strong, you can continue. It’s great to have a mental coach who can help me with that.”

View Grasso's Athlete Profile

These days, Grasso is spending far more time focused on her own goals and expectations and, right now, the ascending contender’s primary goal is to make each of her fights look as beautiful as possible.

“Even though we’re fighting, at the end of the day, it’s an art — mixed martial arts — and I like it to look oh so beautiful: nice jabs, nice uppercuts, nice hooks, because I think it’s part of the game,” she said excitedly. “I like to show that fighting could be nice.

“My coach is also very meticulous about the technique. He always wants us to show good technique, which is the most important thing, and I like it so much. You can throw truly beautiful combos.”

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She’s also locked in on trying to match the nine-fight winning streak the put together at the outset of her career, with an eye towards reaching the top of the flyweight division.

“When I made my debut in the UFC, I reached 9-0, and I hope that I can break my own record again,” said Grasso, who carries a 14-3 record into this weekend’s clash with Araujo.

Alexa Grasso of Mexico submits Joanne Wood of Scotland in a flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Nationwide Arena on March 26, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Alexa Grasso of Mexico submits Joanne Wood of Scotland in a flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Nationwide Arena on March 26, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)


“And why are you in the UFC if you’re not climbing to be the next contender?” she asked rhetorically, chasing her question with a laugh. “That would be a waste of time, and that’s why I’m here and doing my best as always.”

Nearly 10 years after making her professional debut, eight years after stepping into the Invicta FC cage for the first time, and quickly approaching the six-year anniversary of her debut effort inside the UFC Octagon, Grasso has finally reached the point many forecasted she would reach all those years ago.

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The journey to get to this point hasn’t been easy, but as she prepares to head into battle on Saturday, Grasso is thankful for every twist and turn along the way, because it has led to her being the best possible version of herself ahead of this weekend’s clash with Araujo.

“I think all my fights and all those challenges were in preparation for this one,” Grasso said. “She’s a really, really tough girl and that’s why I have been training so hard.

“I’m happy my journey has happened this way because this fight is important, and all the journey has led to this preparation.”

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UFC Fight Night: Grasso vs Araujo took place live from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 15, 2022. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass