At UFC Fight Night: Yusuff vs Barboza, undefeated British newcomer Melissa Dixon will make her first walk to the Octagon to face Irina Alekseeva in a bantamweight clash between two up and coming prospects.
Dixon enters the UFC with a perfect 5-0 record that includes three first-round finishes in less than a year-and-a-half. For having so much success this early on in her mixed martial arts career, you’d expect a lengthy background in combat sports experience, but that’s not the case.
Originally a breakdancer, it wasn’t until a sour relationship pushed her away from dancing and into a nearby MMA gym in 2016.
“I used to break dance,” Dixon said. “That went a little bit sour in terms of the scenario I was in. I went past the gym every day, and having no mixed martial arts background, I didn’t really know what I was stepping into. I stepped into the gym and, boom, I’m here fighting at the pinnacle of my career.”
At 32 years old, Dixon says she’s already feeling the physical demands of the sport, like weight cutting, taking a toll on her body. At the same time, her previous promotions struggled to find her fights, and Dixon’s drive to compete began dwindling. All she needed was a spark, and that spark came when she picked up the phone to a call from the UFC offering her a spot to compete on the world’s biggest stage.
“I’ve always felt as an overlooked character in this game,” Dixon said. “I’ve always struggled to get fights and I feel like I’ve never been given the opportunity other females in my country have been given. I’m not supported like other females, I’m not sponsored like other females, so honestly, when I got the call, the acknowledgement that this Is my future was phenomenal.
“Because I’m 32, I’m at a point in my career where weight cuts are getting hard; no one wants to fight at [145 pounds] anymore, no promotion wants 145ers anymore and going to 135 was getting more and more difficult for me. I was struggling to enjoy the process of this stage of fighting. I was almost ready to do what a typical family would do: have kids, settle down, make your money and build a career in another pathway. I got the call, and the UFC gave me the motivation to crack down [and] get business done. This is probably the best and healthiest I’ve been in my whole professional career.”
On Saturday, Dixon faces Russia’s Alekseeva, who picked up the biggest win of her professional career in April when she submitted Stephanie Egger by kneebar in round one. Dixon’s not impressed. When judging their skills side-by-side, Dixon believes she’s far more technical and that this matchup suits her very well for her introduction to UFC competition.
“It’s like the perfect UFC fight,” Dixon said of her matchup with Alekseeva. “She’s not too high up on the agenda where there’s too much pressure coming in on myself, but she’s also not very technical. She’s definitely a swinger, so expect a ding-dong when we’re in there exchanging, but typically, I’m really comfortable with this matchup.
“As long as I control my emotions and I’m not stupid and reckless in [the Octagon], you can expect a female that’s not your typical female; I’m exciting, I like a ding-dong, I got knockout power… I’m explosive, I’m powerful, I’m exciting and I find that I’m a technical fighter.”
UFC Fight Night: Yusuff vs Barboza took place live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 14, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!