Jennifer Maia accepts Alexa Grasso’s challenge, wants her next: ‘She hasn’t fought an opponent of my level’

Jennifer Maia | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Ask and you shall receive.

Alexa Grasso tapped Joanne Wood this past March at UFC Columbus to secure her third straight victory and then voiced her interest in a clash with Jennifer Maia, who is down for the challenge.

Days after Grasso told Hablemos MMA she wants to face Maia — the woman Grasso thinks “has given the most fight and trouble” to UFC flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko — the one-time title challenger reached out to MMA Fighting to respond.

“I accept the challenge,” Maia said. “I think it’s a fight everybody would like to watch because of its technical aspect. She hasn’t fought an opponent of my level so far, even though ‘JoJo’ is an experienced athlete. She hasn’t fought an opponent of my level in the UFC, so it would be a great fight.”

Grasso is on a roll since moving up to 125 pounds, defeating Ji Yeon Kim and Maycee Barber via decision before her recent win over Wood. Maia, on the other hand, went the distance with Shevchenko in 2020 and rebounded against Jessica Eye before losing back-to-back fights to Katlyn Chookagian and Manon Fiorot in a span of two months in 2022 to drop her overall record to 19-9-1.

After a busy start this year, Maia said she could face Grasso in two months, but no later than September.

“I took that fight [with Fiorot] on three weeks’ notice, but that didn’t affect the result because I was well-trained,” said the 33-year-old veteran, a former Invicta FC flyweight champion. “I felt ready and let things go, but it wasn’t my day to shine and win, it was my opponent’s.”

“She went in there to score points and come out victorious,” Maia said of Fiorot. “She didn’t engage with me. She fought like Katlyn Chookagian, running from the fight and scoring points to win.”

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