In a UFC flyweight division that once appeared bereft of worthy competitors due to Valentina Shevchenko’s sheer dominance, Alexa Grasso’s surprising championship win arrived just as a fresh crop of challengers began emerging at 125 pounds.
Scheduled for a high-stakes rematch against Shevchenko on September 16th in Las Vegas, during the flagship event of Noche UFC, Grasso had initially dethroned the former champ in a stunning fourth-round submission last March. Though entirely zoned in on her impending duel, Grasso acknowledges that the division isn’t getting any less competitive.
Discussing the division’s ever-expanding pool of talent recently on MMA Hook’s Trocação Franca podcast, Grasso noted, “The list of possible contenders in the 125-pound division is long and illustrious. Let’s not forget the new kid on the block, Rose Namajunas. She’s facing off against the current top contender, so whoever comes out on top could be next in line. Erin [Blanchfield] is also making some waves.”
“The most thrilling match-up could very well decide the next contender.”
This Saturday, in UFC Paris, Namajunas—a two-time former UFC strawweight champion—is making her flyweight debut against Manon Fiorot, who currently holds the top rank. Meanwhile, 24-year-old Erin Blanchfield, whose impressive résumé boasts decisive victories over Jessica Andrade and Molly McCann, further bolstered her 6-0 UFC record this past weekend with a gritty win against Taila Santos at UFC Singapore.
“Each fighter brings their unique strengths to the octagon, making every match a whole new ball game,” observed Grasso. “Rose has a rich championship history, and facing her would be an honor. Her career is awe-inspiring. But let’s not sleep on Erin, who’s a young gun with a killer ground game. Manon Fiorot packs a punch as well, especially with her kicks. Each offers something different, and I’m all for locking horns with any of them.”
While Namajunas is new to the flyweight class, she has a history of holding her own against those who’ve made a name for themselves in this weight category, such as Jessica Andrade and Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Grasso herself transitioned to flyweight in 2020 after a loss to Carla Esparza, deciding to bulk up by ten pounds post a successful 11-3 strawweight run.
Since her weight class transition, Grasso’s been on a tear, collecting five consecutive wins, including notable finishes against Shevchenko and Joanne Wood.
“From personal experience, shifting from 115 pounds to 125 was a cakewalk and actually invigorating,” added Grasso. “If you’re committed to your training regimen, making that jump is a breeze. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rose shakes things up in the division.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about UFC flyweight division
Who is Alexa Grasso facing in her upcoming rematch?
Alexa Grasso is set to face Valentina Shevchenko in a highly anticipated rematch on September 16th, during the flagship event of Noche UFC in Las Vegas.
When did Alexa Grasso win the flyweight championship?
Alexa Grasso won the UFC flyweight championship in March of the previous year by defeating Valentina Shevchenko via a fourth-round submission.
Is Rose Namajunas new to the flyweight division?
Yes, Rose Namajunas is making her debut in the UFC flyweight division. She is a two-time former UFC strawweight champion and will be facing top-ranked Manon Fiorot in UFC Paris.
Who are the other emerging talents in the 125-pound division according to Grasso?
According to Alexa Grasso, Erin Blanchfield is another rising talent in the flyweight division. She already has decisive wins over Jessica Andrade and Molly McCann and recently improved her UFC record to 6-0.
What is Alexa Grasso’s opinion on changing weight classes?
Grasso herself transitioned from the strawweight to the flyweight division in 2020 after losing to Carla Esparza. She has found the move beneficial and has won five straight fights since then. She believes that if a fighter is committed to their training, making such a transition is not difficult.
What did Alexa Grasso say about the list of potential contenders in the flyweight division?
Grasso noted that the 125-pound division is filled with a long list of fighters who could be potential contenders. She mentioned that the new addition, Rose Namajunas, is also in the mix, especially if she wins against Manon Fiorot.
Where did Alexa Grasso discuss these matters?
Alexa Grasso discussed these topics recently on the MMA Hook’s Trocação Franca podcast.
What does Grasso think about possibly facing Namajunas?
Grasso respects Rose Namajunas’ strong championship history and would like the opportunity to fight her. She sees Namajunas as one of the strong potential contenders in the flyweight division.