Despite beating former champion Carla Esparza, Markos doesn’t feel Alexa Grasso is a step back

Coming off the biggest win of her career, Randa Markos will enter hostile territory when she takes on Alexa

Coming off the biggest win of her career, Randa Markos will enter hostile territory when she takes on Alexa Grasso in Mexico City.

Markos edged out former champion Carla Esparza on home soil back in February and will look to notch another big win on August 5th.

She was gunning for a rematch with 5th ranked Tecia Torres and they even verbally agreed to fight when they encountered each other at the fighter retreat in Las Vegas.

One month later and the UFC announce that Torres is stepping in on short notice to take on Julianna Lima. The announcement took Markos by surprise but she believes that the two will likely square off down the line.

“I was very excited to fight Tecia,” Markos said. “When I heard Tecia took another fight I was very disappointed but then I realized that if anyone can take such a short notice fight and make the weight it’s her. From what I remember on TUF 20 she walked around at 115 and never really had to cut anyway. I’m sure the fight will still happen eventually. She is still up in the rankings and I’m still climbing.”

Shortly after that, the UFC announced that Markos is set to take on rising star Alexa Grasso in Mexico City. Grasso has gone 1-1 in the octagon, mostly recently losing a unanimous decision to Felice Herrig. While many feel that the hype over Grasso is not warranted, Markos feels that a win over her would propel her forward.

“Alexa Grasso is the biggest name in Mexico,” Markos said. “With only one loss she is still a big name to have a win over. I don’t think this is a step back but it would have been nice to fight someone in the top 5 but that will come after this fight I’m sure.”

“Alexa is a pretty well rounded fighter who started off as a boxer and added a few tricks to her game. I think she is most dangerous when she is planted and she can throw her hands and against the cage. This is going to be a much different fight from my last and we needed to make sure we cover all angles.”

This will mark the first time that Markos competes in a co-main event spot and despite the promotional push, she remains focused on the task at hand.

“I’m excited to be fighting in Mexico and to be the co-main fight is even better but I’m not focused on that,” Markos said. “Whether I’m on the main card on Fight Pass it doesn’t matter the only thing that matters is I have a big fight ahead of me and I need to make sure I execute the game plan.”

In her last outing, Markos displayed her ever evolving striking skills, outpointing Esparza on route to a decision win. Training in multiple different gyms, Markos is focusing on each aspect of her game.

“Things went very well for me in my last fight so I haven’t changed much for my camp. I don’t train out of one MMA gym. I have separated all my training to get the most out of every discipline. The only thing I have changed is I have added a new bjj gym and I feel more comfortable about my ground game now.

Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Carla Esparza (red gloves) fights Randa Markos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Mexico City is known for its high altitude and many fighters that have competed there have suffered from cardio and stamina issues. As Markos prepares for battle, she’s been putting the work in to ensure that she can push the pace for all 3 rounds.

“I’m not sure what to expect with the altitude so I’m preparing for the worst,” Markos said. “I’m doing my rounds with a sauna suit in very hot temperatures and lots of cardio. Nothing I do can really top me actually going to Mexico so we will be trying to get regulated to the altitude as soon as we arrive.”

She will touch down in Mexico City on August 1st as she looks to string back to back victories in the UFC for the first time. Despite Grasso’s well respected boxing skills, Markos feels confident standing up and will look to ultimately use her elite ground game to make the difference.

“We can never predict how things will go but I’m looking to stay moving and look for my openings and act on them. I think that our stand up will be pretty even so I am looking to use my wrestling and my bjj to advance on situations.”

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Farah Hannoun