Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which specializes in mixed martial arts, has famously been a male-dominated sport but this weekend a Latina made history. UFC athlete Alexa Grasso, who is originally from Guadalajara, made headlines for being the first Mexican-born woman to have a shot at winning the UFC Championship in her fight against flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko. Then on March 4, 2023, she won the fight and became the first-ever Mexican-born female champion in UFC history, additionally earning her first Performance of the Night award. She is the third overall new Mexican UFC champion this year, joining flyweight champion Brandon Moreno and interim featherweight champion Yair Rodriguez, according to ESPN.
Following the historic fight, Grasso took to Instagram, saying in Spanish, “Words do not reach me to express how happy I am! I feel so grateful and lucky to be able to learn and have amazing coaches, amazing teammates, amazing nutritionists and amazing mental training. I love my whole team and everything we are achieving! Thank you all for being part of this.”
Grasso originally made her MMA debut in Mexico in 2012, quickly becoming an undefeated champion for the first year and a half of her career with five wins and zero losses. Since 2016, she has been competing in UFC in the flyweight division, where she has accrued 16 wins and three losses. Not only was her fight with Shevchenko historic for Mexico and UFC, but it was also her first-ever title fight with UFC, which makes her win that much more extraordinary. Alongside her fights, she also works as a UFC analyst for UFC Español’s Spanish broadcasts. In both roles, she brings much-need female representation and visibility to the UFC and wider sports world. However, Grasso is proof that no matter where you come from or what other people think, we all deserve a fair shot at becoming champions. After a decade-long career, she is truly becoming a great role model and inspiration for girls and women in sports.
“It’s beautiful,” she said prior to the historic fight, according to MMA Junkie. “The truth is that it’s so cool. I always put it as a goal to do things well, do things right, and that’s what we’re doing. For me, it’s really important to be able to open the door for all the Mexican women who are coming up behind us. It’s beautiful. I can’t deny that I’m very excited, happy to be a pioneer for my country and do important things along with my partners. I just want to do things well and win that title.”
“It makes me very happy to see my countrymen achieve their goals, show that it is possible,” she added. “Yes, it’s hard and tough, but that’s anything you want to achieve in life. As long as you set goals, you stay disciplined, trust yourself, you can achieve anything.”