At Invicta FC 30 five months ago, Grusander and Frey engaged in a grueling five-round battle for a vacant atomweight championship, a battle that Frey won by unanimous decision. Immediately, given how close the action was and how much of it appeared to be controlled by Grusander, there was at least a portion of the audience who thought that the Finnish fighter was the victim of a bad break.
But the real insult was yet to come.
Shortly after, Frey and her husband Douglas accused Grusander of intentionally carrying a foul odor into the bout, an allegation that Grusander described as “disgraceful”. The discussion would dissipate, but not the sense that there was unfinished business between the two fighters.
The matchmakers felt the same way and they booked Grusander and Frey for an immediate rematch, which headlines Invicta FC 33 this Saturday at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Mo.
Considering she was confident that she’d done enough to win last time, Grusander isn’t changing much this time around strategy-wise. Emotionally though, she’s bringing an extra charge.
“I’m excited to see myself in the cage, because I’m going to enjoy a little differently beating her up,” Grusander told MMA Fighting.
Grusander says that very same night she lost to Frey she had a feeling that they would fight again sooner rather than later. And the comments about her supposed “stink strategy” only fanned the flames in the days following. She felt a lot of support from fans and her fellow fighters and in the end is even somewhat grateful that Frey’s team ended up helping to manufacture a feud.
“I still think that the whole ‘stinky strategy’ thing is so bizarre and I don’t know where it is coming from, but I think I should kind of be thankful for them for bringing this stuff up and starting this thing because it probably has fueled this whole thing and now we’re heading towards a rematch,” Grusander said.
“I think it’s clear that I have to spend a long time in the bathtub to make that 105-pound limit,” she added, with a laugh. “So I think I’m pretty clean after those long, hot baths that I take.”
As prepared as she is to go another five rounds with Frey, Grusander has also pictured herself putting the champion away inside the distance. She couldn’t specify a round or exact method, only that the finishing scene is clear in her mind.
“When I step into the cage I will figure it out, but actually I do see myself beating her with a knockout or choking her out,” Grusander said. “I really can visualize that and I’m pretty positive that that’s what’s going to happen.”
In the event that she finds herself with Invicta gold around her waist, there are already challengers lining up for a shot. Veteran Ashley Cummins has won four of her last fights and lobbied for a title opportunity after defeating Jessica Delboni at Invicta FC 32. She also made a call for the UFC to consider adding the atomweight division to its roster, an idea that Grusander finds intriguing.
However, one move she isn’t planning to make is one up to 115 pounds, even if that’s a requirement for entry into the UFC.
“I want to fight at the top. I want to be the world champion in this, so for me it makes more sense to be Invicta champion and fight at atomweight as the champion then just some top-15 ranked fighter in strawweight,” Grusander said. “If I now step up to strawweight and fight in the UFC, it would be awesome being in the UFC, but I would still be pretty much a nobody as a strawweight over there in comparison to me being the atomweight champion.”
That means taking care of Frey first. And possibly completing a trilogy with Frey at some point (a suggestion that Grusander had no problem with). And then defending her title against the atomweight division’s best.
It’s a challenge Grusander embraces and one that she welcomes as long as she’s on the Invicta roster.
“I really want to fight against all the other best girls in the world. So at this point it’s Invicta,” Grusander said. “Of course, if the UFC is going to take the atomweight division as well, I think that they will want to have the toughest girls in their atomweight division so that would naturally be the place where I would be fighting.
“Right now, I really enjoy my time in Invicta. I feel it is a great promotion and I really love the fact that I’m fighting for Invicta. I don’t know if it sounds bad, but I think it’s actually pretty nice that the UFC doesn’t have the atomweight division. I don’t know how the UFC supports the fighters and how it would feel for me to fight for the UFC, but right now Invicta is taking such great care of their fighters and they have great events and everything is working so perfectly.”