As I walked into the IMMAF tournament for the first time, I had missed the first 2 female bouts due to just getting into town. In a little alcove outside where the action was I saw this fighter moving around like she was warming up. It was Minna Grusander. I introduced myself and was a little perplexed.
“Didn’t you just win your fight today?” I asked.
She replied “I still have two more to go this week.”
Grusander had come into the tournament representing what has been an international female MMA powerhouse in Finland. Two of her country women have made the big stages here in the U.S.
“It’s awesome right now with the situation with female fighters in Finland,” Grusander explained me. “We have great fighters in Tina Lahdemaki (UFC) and Katja Kankaanpää (Invicta). It’s a huge motivation to see Finnish girls in top organizations.”
The duo have done their part to help develop the country’s female fighting talent, doing all female seminars and helping Grusander train going into the tournament.
With their help and the help of her local gym Finn Fighters, Grusander was able to grab the brass ring and won the IMMAF strawweight tournament.
Grusander started her MMA journey a year and a half ago, and coming to the IMMAF gave her validity in what she is doing is worth wild.
“It’s been great to see how much I’ve grown in the last year and a half. It’s great to have the feeling of confidence in the game.”
So much confidence in fact she has announced her intent on turning pro at atomweight. She is looking to follow the lead of her fellow countrywoman Kankaanpää and sign with Invicta. Although this may not happen overnight, she sees opportunity to gain experience in Europe.
“It’s a great thing to have tested myself right now and seeing other European fighters out here. I know if I don’t make it into Invicta right away, I know there could be great fights in Europe as well.”
Grusander is very familiar with Kansas City, home of InvictaFC, as she trained at American Top Team HD run by Jason High and JC Davis.
It’s not just the company that she trains with that makes her special. With her shining personality, her hard work effort, and natural skill, she has not only won a world championship, but has started to make herself a star in her own right.