Alexa Grasso at the Noche UFC post fight press conference Joshua Solorzano for The Latin Times

On March 4, 2023, Alexa Grasso submitted her opponent, Valentina Shevchenko, and made history becoming the first Mexico-born woman to become a champion in the Ultimate Fighting Championship Mixed Martial Arts Promotion.

Six months later, on Mexico's Independence Day (Sept. 16), Grasso defended her title against her now arch-rival and she kept her belt after the bout went to the judges' decision and ended in a draw.

Alexa (29), heralded in Latino and Mexican media as one of the most influential athletes in the region, was born in 1993 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Her father is from the same city in central Mexico and her mother is from Mexico City. Alexa said her parents played a significant role in her life because they were the examples she had to follow, and they were also her teachers.

Growing up, Alexa was an athlete, and her parents would put her into every sport they could. In a GQ interview, Alexa said when she was young, she wanted to win an Olympic gold medal, but she was just as happy to become a UFC champion.

Alexa said in a UFCEspañol interview that she started boxing because her great-grandfather was a boxer. Her father and his siblings grew up fighting too, and one of her uncles was a pro.

Jiu jitsu became part of Alexa's life because her uncle was a teacher of this Brazilian martial art, which he adopted it after a rival submitted him using some moves. Alexa's uncle was intrigued after a smaller opponent beat him with his jiu jitsu. This is how Mixed Martial Arts became part of the Grasso family.

Alexa said that when she was a child, she saw her family train MMA because they owned a fight gym, but it wasn't until she was about 12 or 13-years-old that her father said she had large hands, and he asked her if she wanted to try out boxing. She said she learned the basics, and she "really liked it."

At the beginning, she only practiced boxing and muay thai. She eventually practiced jiu jitsu but it wasn't until she wore a gi that she started taking this martial art seriously. Then came jiu jitsu tournaments in Guadalajara which led her to face a male opponent in a larger competition.

Alexa said her opponent was very strong, but she submitted him. She said that this was her first victory against a powerful opponent, a win that left a huge impression on her. After winning many jiu jitsu tournaments, she wanted to start competing in MMA.

On May 11, 2013, Alexa competed in her first tournament for Fight Hard Championship 3 and won easily against Lupita Hernández with a knockout 12 seconds into the first round. But her second tournament in Mexico City was different.

She fought in Xtreme Kombat on Aug. 31, 2013. Alexa won her first match via TKO 36 seconds into the first round. But this tournament was a multiple-fight tournament, so Alexa had two matches that night. Alexa said the second match was one of the hardest matches of her life as this was the first time she felt pain in an MMA bout, and she bled. This fight was the first time she ever fought to the end of three rounds, but despite the damage, she won the match via unanimous decision. She won a belt and wanted to continue fighting in MMA.

After this, on Sept. 16, 2014, Alexa started fighting in an established fight promotion, traveling to the U.S. to fight at Invicta FC, where she won four matches. At Invicta FC, she got her first taste of the big leagues, fighting alongside other famous fighters in the MMA world, such as Cris Cyborg, and interacting with people like Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm. At her third bout in Invicta FC on Feb. 27, 2015, in Los Angeles, Alexa met Dana White, UFC's CEO.

But before she started fighting in the UFC, and despite traveling to the U.S. to fight in Invicta FC, Alexa didn't make enough money fighting professionally part-time. Back home in Guadalajara, She was going to school in the mornings and working a job in the afternoons. She said she felt a lot of social pressure because not many women practiced mixed martial arts, but her family always supported her.

After a meeting with Dana White in July, 2016, in Kansas City, Alexa fought one more match in Invicta FC, headlining the show and winning. After that, Dana gave Alexa her first fight in the UFC.

Her debut on an UFC octagon was Nov. 5, 2016, in Mexico City. She won her first UFC fight via decision against Heather Clark.

On Feb. 4, 2017, in Houston, at her second fight, Alexa tasted defeat for the first time. She lost during UFC Fight Night 104 to Felice Herrig via decision.

On Aug. 5 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico she would go on to fight again against Randa Markos and win via decision. But shortly after that on May 19, 2018, in Santiago Chile, Alexa lost again to Tatiana Suárez via submission. After that on June 8, 2019, in Chicago, Illinois, Alexa defeated Karolina Kowalkiewicz.

"I don't like to lose, I hate losing, but I think that time it was necessary," Alexa said in a video from UFCEspañol.

Her last loss was four years ago, in Mexico City, to Carla Esparza at UFC Fight Night 159 via decision. Currently, Alexa is on a five-fight win streak. The last battle she won before her most recent draw was against Shevchenko at UFC 285, which is the fight that made her champion.

On Sept. 16, in Las Vegas Nevada following Noche UFC, Alexa said at a press conference that she was happy with her previous performance despite her last fight winning in a draw. Alex said she's open to a rematch with Shevchenko, but with Shevchenko's broken finger, she doesn't want to hold the division, and she wants to give someone else a shot at winning the belt.

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