LAS VEGAS – Alexa Grasso knows she’s in for the toughest challenge of her career, but she has covered all the bases in preparation for the chance to make history.
At UFC 285, Mexico’s Grasso (15-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) will have the opportunity to end the championship reign of Valentina Shevchenko, who has held the women’s flyweight title since 2018, racking up seven title defenses.
It’s a tall order, and one that Grasso went above and beyond to prepare to be the one to stop the stranglehold Shevchenko (23-3 MMA, 12-2 UFC) has held on the division. She will have her chance in the pay-per-view co-main event at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas this Saturday.
“I’ve been watching her career for a long, long time, and I think this is the biggest challenge of my life,” Grasso told reporters at Wednesday’s UFC 285 media day. “I can’t say that I’m the best striker if I haven’t faced someone like her. I’m truly happy and inspired for this fight. I know she’s tough, I know she’s dangerous in all areas, and this made me train tons. Like, a lot.
“I was extreme with my discipline, I was extreme with my training, with my diet, with my conditioning. I was extreme in all areas and definitely, I’m a better athlete right now, and I can’t wait to prove that.”
Grasso’s impressive four-fight winning streak brought her to this moment. After defeating Viviane Araujo by unanimous decision in October, she began targeting UFC 285 as a potential return date, seemingly willing the title fight into existence.
Winning the title would be a career-defining moment and a historic one for the sport and her country. Grasso could become the first Mexican female champion in UFC history, but claiming the title by knocking off someone with a resume like Shevchenko’s would make the entire moment that much sweeter.
“As a competitor, I like challenges,” Grasso said. “Knowing all the things she just achieved, it gives you more motivation. If she’s done so much, and of course, she has a lot more years in the sport, but knowing the credentials she has, and to be able to win (against) someone like her, I think it’s a plus.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 285.