Earlier this year, Mexico had three UFC Champions. Now, they’re down to one.
The UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion Alexa Grasso still holds onto gold after her fellow countrymen Brandon Moreno and Yair Rodriguez both lost their titles at UFC 290 this summer.
The Significance Of UFC Noche
Grasso will put her title on the line this weekend as she is set to rematch ex-champ Valentina Shevchenko, the woman she took the belt from at UFC 285. The new champion’s first title defense is a special one as Grasso headlines the UFC’s first-ever ‘UFC Noche’, a card celebrating Mexican Independence Day on Sep. 16.
Guadalajara’s Grasso is pleased to see her culture getting some shine.
“Mexico has been growing so fast and so nice in the sport,” Grasso said at UFC Noche media day. “Honestly, having Mexican champions a few years ago was kind of impossible. So it’s a big, big motivation for me. What Brandon [Moreno] has done, what Yair [Rodriguez] has done, what Irene [Aldana] has done and every single Mexican in the card right now we have a card on Mexican Independence day.
“This didn’t happen in another country. So this says a lot about Mexican support in every single fight.”
Grasso Is Grinding
Blown away by the amazing support for Mexican MMA, Grasso is making sure she’s doing everything she can to hear ‘And Still’ on Saturday night.
“It’s been a dream come true and the most important thing, it’s full of training. A lot of training. A lot of training to be able to be in this moment right now.
“I always say that making history is never easy, but I’ve been working so hard every single day of my life to be at this moment. This last camp wasn’t different, I was training more. I was with more discipline. I was like two, three times extremer with my training and with everything that has to be done to be the champion again to win the fight again. I just try to keep focus on the goal.”
Operation: ‘Keep The Belt In Mexico’
With Yair Rodriguez and Brandon Moreno losing their belts in 2023, Grasso looks to put on for her country by retaining the belt against ‘Bullet’.
“I don’t think you call it pressure. I think it’s more motivation,” Grasso said of being Mexico’s remaining UFC Champion. “We have done so much in the sport. We’ve been evolving so hard. This keeps me with tons of motivation to keep the belt in Mexico.”
‘There Are No Accidents’
Grasso’s title fight at UFC Noche will be no easy task as she will face Valentina Shevchenko, who has been very vocal since her submission loss. Grasso doesn’t really understand all the noise coming from the former champ, however.
“It just kind of surprise for me because someone with such big experience and competing at this high, high level, we know that there are no accidents,” Grasso said of where Shevchenko’s head is at. “I trained for that moment and you also can see the video that I have before the fight. I was training exactly that same position, so it was, it was something that I trained to win that fight.”