UFC’s Diego Lopes makes case for Francisco Grasso as 2023 Coach of the Year

Francisco Grasso, also known as “Pancho,” has achieved remarkable success with his Lobo Gym team in 2023. Based in Guadalajara, Mexico, Grasso and his team have made significant strides in the MMA world, a feat that has been historically rare for gyms in Mexico.

Despite maintaining a low profile in the media, Grasso’s daughter, Alexa Grasso, became the first Mexican woman to win a UFC title under his guidance, defeating the legendary Valentina Shevchenko in one of the year’s most surprising upsets. Grasso continued to coach Alexa, helping her secure a draw against Shevchenko at Noche UFC, the first UFC event celebrating Mexican Independence Day.

But Lobo Gym’s accomplishments don’t end there. In addition to coaching his daughter, Grasso guided Irene Aldana to a UFC women’s bantamweight title shot, propelled Loopy Godinez into the UFC women’s strawweight rankings, and coached Diego Lopes and Alessandro Costa into the UFC.

Despite his success, Grasso has remained humble about his achievements, preferring to stay out of the limelight. Lopes told MMA Junkie in Spanish, “Pancho doesn’t seek attention like others. However, he is gaining recognition and is increasingly being considered as a strong candidate for Coach of the Year.”

Lopes, Lobo Gym’s jiu-jitsu coach, emphasized the challenges they face as a Mexican-based gym with limited resources, making Grasso even more deserving of coaching accolades. Despite the accomplishments of other coaches like Xtreme Couture’s Eric Nicksick, Lopes advocated for Grasso’s recognition and inclusion in the Coach of the Year conversation.

While others may contest Grasso’s candidacy, Lopes believes that simply being acknowledged as Coach of the Year would make history, representing a significant achievement for both Grasso and Mexican-based MMA coaches.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 295.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie


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