Minna "Brutsku" Grusander (6-3-0) has exciting news to share. Find out what is new with the Finnish Invicta FC fighter in this exclusive interview with Ikuinen Peruskurssi MMA media.
Grusander will gladly choke out any opposition coming her way. Photo: Niko Sieppi/Rabbit Visual
Hey, Minna! It’s been a while since we last saw you inside the cage. Can you tell us why we haven’t seen you compete in InvictaFC this year?
"Hi! Well, to start with, I had a nicely booked year of 2018 having three fights in nine months and receiving tons of love (great opportunities, smoking hot promoting...) from Invicta FC, so it was a fair time for me to sit out for a few events.
We were looking for and even tried to negotiate a fight in Finland meanwhile, but unfortunately it just didn't work out, so we decided to take some time for a longer period of training and were hopeful for a next Invicta appearance later this year.
Then in the middle of a perfectly progressed training season, in late July, we hit a little bump in road, when during a light grappling sparring I tore the LCL from my knee. Luckily the damage was nothing too severe - no surgery needed and after a couple months of recovery and rehabilitation I'll be fully back in MMA. However, it was still enough to postpone the opportunity for my next fight so much that the year 2019 will go by without a fight for me."
Regarding your injury, where are you at the moment with the rehabilitation?
"I'm doing nicely, the rehabilitation goes as well as expected. I have always loved MMA for it's versatility, so even now when keeping the knee and LCL protected for rest and rehabilitation, I have still been able to train a lot MMA-like otherwise. It will take a few more weeks for the LCL to be perfectly healed and then more rehabilitation to get the knee, leg and the whole body ready for MMA."
When will you be able to compete next time?
"If, and when, everything keeps going as expected, I could theoretically step into the cage in late December, but practically we have our eyes set to early next year, so hopefully in the first Invicta event, or atleast within the first few Invicta events, in 2020."
There is some huge news regarding your Invicta career, spill the beans already!
"Instead of a leaner and meaner "Brutsku", you will get to witness a stronger and bolder Brutsku entering the cage in 2020 as a strawweight fightress."
What are the reasons behind the decision to move up to strawweight division?
"Well, I have always been a big fighter for atomweight division, but at the same time, when previously having a few bouts in strawweight (Dec 2016, Feb 2017), I was a bit too small to be a strawweight as well.
Four of my pro MMA bouts have been individual fights at 110lbs catchweight (Oct 2015 to Dec 2017) which would have been an ideal weightclass for me, so it has really been a topic of conversation within my team throughout my whole career, if I should fight in atomweight or strawweight division. Now just thinking about all the training throughout my whole career and some changes in my physics training for this year on top of that, I now have basically grown out of atomweight and the only reasonable decision was to move up to strawweight division. Instead of trying to stay at atomweight division forced with some enormous, insane weightcut this was the sensible thing to do."
Obviously your frame is big enough (5’4’’) to move comfortably up to strawweight division. The previous champion (before moving to UFC) Brianna Van Buren is 5’ tall. But how do you see yourself otherwise compared to the upcoming competition?
"Like I said, I have basically grown to this and the move up to strawweight is natural, practical and the only realistic option at this point. So, considering my frame, strength, skillset, everything, I am now a strawweight. I am extremely excited to face all the upcoming competition, not only in a heavier weightclass but also with a wider range in strawweight division."
Weight cutting is always a hot topic in MMA and for a good reason, too. How does this change affect on your fight preparation and fight camp?
"Actually it doesn't really change anything because I've grown into this and my fight preparation routines will nowadays tone me down to around 115lbs. Of course things ease up a little bit with the last hours before the weigh-in compared to my previous weigh-ins, which sure is a nice little gesture for my coaches Sami Sakko and Aleksi Kainulainen who always reliably help me get my weight on point."
Are there any names in your mind you would like to face in your strawweight debut?
"Actually there were, and of course still is, many names equally targeted in my radar and I'm ready to face any co-strawweight in the cage. In the last Invicta FC 36, in August, a promotinal newcomer Emily Ducote sure caught my eye. Also, it would have been a plausible scenario for me in atomweight to clash with Amber Brown who has since moved up to strawweight as well, and I would still see our bout equally reasonable in strawweight."
How did the organisation respond to your idea of changing weight class?
"Invicta FC responded very well. I'm sure we share an equal enthusiasm to see me enter into a fresh field of competition and rock things up now with the other strawweight contenders."
What is your message to the Invicta strawweight division fighters?