Valentina Shevchenko has stood across from Joanna Jedrzejczyk three times prior to the UFC in Muay Thai matches. Shevchenko, albeit the bigger woman, beat Jedrzejczyk on all three occasions.
Shevchenko also has a connection with Rose Namajunas, as training partners at 303 Training Center in Colorado.
And Shevchenko was confident that when the two faced off at UFC 217, Namajunas would take the UFC strawweight title from Jedrzejczyk.
“I knew from the first seconds when I heard that they will fight, I knew that Rose will win,” Shevchenko said recently on The MMA Hour. “Because I’ve tried the power of Rose and I’ve tried the power of Joanna and I know exactly what powers both girls have. I knew and everybody was asking me before they fight, ‘Who do you think will win?’ Every time, I was saying it will be Rose. They didn’t believe me. But after the fight, it’s no doubt.”
Namajunas did end up beating Jedrzejczyk by knockout at 3:03 of the first round at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
“Rose, she is not only striker, she is not only grappler,” Shevchenko said. “She is MMA fighter. And what’s important is she’s a complete fighter, because she can grapple as good as wrestle, [as good] as [her] boxing and Muay Thai, whatever.”
Jedrzejczyk said she expects to get an immediate rematch against Namajunas for the 115-pound title sometime early next year. “Joanna Champion” held the belt from March 2015 and was undefeated going into the fight with Namajunas.
Shevchenko does not foresee any change in the outcome if the rematch materializes, but she does expect Jedrzejczyk to train harder and prepare better. Shevchenko said Namajunas was not shaken by Jedrzejczyk’s trash talk and intensity in the staredowns, and she doesn’t think it’ll be different the next time.
“Rose will do her thing, she will be focused only on her fight and just to show the skills,” Shevchenko said. “This is what we saw. I’m very happy for Rose, because she deserves it. I know exactly she will be very good champion at 115 and I think for a long time.”