Simply put, Alida Gray comes to fight!
After starting her amateur MMA career in 2010, she turned pro in 2013 and hasn’t looked back. She fought four times in 2013 alone and has yet to taste defeat. But her career didn’t begin there.
Alida began training in judo at the tender age of 11 and received her black belt at 18 years of age. At one point in her judo career, she was ranked #2 in the US. She was a part of the 1992 Jr. World Team, the 1995 Sr. World Team and an alternate for the 1996 US Olympic Team. Things began to slow down for a bit in 1998 when she decided to continue her education. She would receive her bachelors degree from Cal. State University of San Bernardino and upon completion Gray would return to El Paso, Texas to be close to her family where she also attended the University of Texas, El Paso (UTEP) and received her teaching credentials. While in Texas she was named assistant wrestling head coach of the year for 2011 and 2012 for Andres High School. It was also at this time when Gray began to compete in amateur MMA.
In the 2013, Gray would make the decision to resign from her wrestling position and pursue her career in the professional ranks of women’s MMA. From the start, she was a force to reckon with. Gray blitzed through her opposition compiling an undefeated record of 4-0 and picking up to two titles in the process. She would make headlines when a video of her fight with Soannia Tiem went viral. Gray would unleash a vicious overhand right to the chin of Tiem who was knocked out before she hit the matte. It was a KO that put her up for the “KO of the Year” award on multiple MMA news websites.
Gray has proved that she is here to stay and is willing to take on all comers. So when she got the call from WSOF, it was an easy decision to make. “When approached by WSOF, they brought up the proposal to fight Jessica Aguilar,” tells Gray. “I was planning on trying out for The Ultimate Fighter. But when I got the call to fight the #1 one girl in the world… I jumped at the opportunity,” she continued.
The call came not only to fight the #1 girl in the world, but to fight for the inaugural WSOF strawweight title. For those who know Alida, knew she wouldn’t shy away from this offer. “It does not add pressure,” said Alida. “I fought for a title in my pro-debut at Sugar Creek Showdown in Oklahoma. Fighting for WSOF alone is pressure. Fighting for a title is a bonus,” she continued..
Since 2010, Alida Gray has trained out of Bushido MMA in El Paso and feels that the training she receives has her more than ready for January 18th when she takes on Aguilar. “Training for this fight has been intense,” tells Gray. “Being at Bushido with my coaches and teammates pushing me to be a world champion has been intensely different. Unlike American Top Team… I’m the first fighter at Bushido to have this type opportunity. So, I can say that all eyes are on me to put my team on the map,” she continued.
But even with the training, Gray is expecting one heck of a fight with Aguilar. “I expect this to be my biggest challenge. She is the #1 strawweight in the world and I wouldn’t expect anything less. It is going to be a fight that I will never forget,” says Gray.
Gray is quick to point out how grateful she is for this opportunity and how WSOF is now providing a platform for women in the sport of MMA. “I’m glad that MMA is having success in different organizations, but especially for women,” affirms Gray. “Doors are opening and its giving us an opportunity to display our talents. I’m happy that WSOF is stepping up and providing an opportunity for women to fight in their organization,” she continued.
To be a professional athlete takes a strong work ethic, determination and support from those around you. For Alida Gray, she has all three. “I fight for several reasons,” Gray explains. “ As an educator, I have pushed my student/athletes to set goals and follow their dreams. When I was contemplating on pursuing a career in MMA. My wrestlers were the ones that pushed me to follow my dreams. They knew and understood why I had to quit coaching in order to become a professional fighter. They are my inspiration! The support and love that I receive from my family is another reason why I fight. But the ultimate reason that I fight is for my father (Leonard Gray). He was the reason why I got involved in Judo. He was the backbone of all my success in Judo, education, and happiness in life,” says Gray.
Being that MMA is a team sport, Gray had this to say, “I would like to Thank all of my family, friends, coaches, and teammates for supporting me in my journey,” tells Gray. “I would also like to Thank my sponsors: Great American Restaurant, Sun City Legal Services, Garcia’s Income Tax, and MALO Fight Gear,” she continued.
Alida Gray meets Jessica “JAG” Aguilar January 18th at WSOF 8 for the inaugural WSOF Strawweight title in Hollywood, Florida. And she is coming to fight!