Finland’s Minna ‘Brutsku’ Grusander will face off against Anna Kuzmenko tonight at Battle of Botnia 2016. The event takes place from the Umeå Energi Arena in Umeå, Sweden.
Grusander made her pro debut back in October 2015 taking the decision win against Iman Darabi. She previously enjoyed a very successful amateur career in which she had five wins which included an amateur world championship title. She spoke to us earlier in the week about her opponent, why she begun fighting, plans to move down to Atomweight and lots more. You can view the transcript of the interview below.
You’ll be fighting Anna Kuzmenko this Saturday for Battle of Botnia 2016. What are your opinions on Kuzmenko as an opponent?
We know pretty much nothing about that Anna Kuzmenko who I’m facing. We’ll see at tomorrows weigh in what kind of strawweight fighter I’m going to share the cage with on Saturday. Even though it’s been 14 months since my debut and injuries have forced me to miss fights throughout the whole year, I have been able to train well and on Saturday you will see Brutsku fighting better than ever, guaranteed.
You made your pro debut back in October 2015 with a victory over Iman Darabi. How would you evaluate your performance in that fight?
The break between my first and second fight will be 14 months, that’s crazy! I think that the fight back then went well and was pretty much what I had to offer back then. As an amateur I had 10 fights in 15 months, finishing up at the world championships. I’d had good fights and had built my experience with those amateur fights so it didn’t feel that big of a step for me to turn Pro. Iman Darabi is a great fighter and it’s awesome that we both have fights here at Battle of Botnia as well!
What team are you training with in preparation for your bout against Kuzmenko?
I mostly train at my home gym Finnfighters’ Gym. We have a great group of girls at our gym and talented young smaller guys for me to train with. I have my coach Aleksi Kainulainen here to train with and guiding me forward and I’m sharing my wrestling coach Sami Sakko with a rising UFC star Teemu Packalén. I’m the only pro WMMA fighter in our gym so I do go out from my own gym every now and then to train with other Finnish female fighters. For this fight I’ve had the opportunity to prepare with Vuokko Katainen, an awesome world class fighter representing Team East Front, and we are lucky to have former Invicta strawweight champion, Katja Kankaanpää here in Finland! She’s retired from fighting but still keeps up with training and is up to help us Finn women fighters on our development.
How did you first get into fighting?
I got into MMA because I wanted to stay in shape but didn’t really like any running or jogging or regular gym classes. My husband has been involved with martial arts since 2002 and he suggested that MMA could be worth trying. I began competing in MMA and I just got to test my skills against other small female fighter. Back in 2013 there was hardly any female training MMA besides me at our gym and those few women in grappling/jujitsu were way more experienced and all bigger than me, so I wanted to see my real skills and not just get beat up at training.
This fight will be at 115lbs (Strawweight), is this the weight class you feel most comfortable at?
I’d rather fight at atomweight (105lbs) or at 110lbs catch-weight as I did at my pro debut. I’m a bit too small for strawweight. The 110lbs was easy and I don’t see any problems cutting down to 105lbs.
Do you have any aspirations to someday fight for the UFC?
UFC, why not, but right now as an atomweight fighter my path could be more towards Invicta or big Asian promotions.
With a win over Kuzmenko, what do you hope is next for you as you approach 2017?
After the win on Saturday I surely don’t want any long break from fighting! I’ve been out for long enough now. Approaching 2017 I’d like to hear some of those Asian girls finding their courage to finally fight with me after missing so many fights last spring for them not wanting to share the cage with me. I’m world champion in amateur mma and will be world champion as a pro as well. Or if not, I still love this thing I do and my life as it is right now. You know, “create a life you don’t need a vacation from”, that’s what I’m living right now. I’m loving the journey I’m on.
Minna Grusander takes on Anna Kuzmenko tonight at Battle of Botnia 2016. The event takes place from the Umeå Energi Arena in Umeå, Sweden. Visit the organisations website for more details, click HERE.