UFC Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko Names Who She Wants Next
She last fought in June.
Valentina Shevchenko, the flyweight champion of the UFC, finds it difficult to find opponents.
Shevchenko successfully defended her gold belt for the seventh time in a row by defeating Taila Santos by controversial split decision at UFC 275. Since her second encounter with Amanda Nunes in 2017, no one has seen the champion put to the test.
Shevchenko was upset to fight just once in 2022 after having hopes of fighting before the year concluded. The 34-year-old said she was prepared to fight in an interview with the UFC, but nothing happened.
“I wanted to fight in December, but it’s my understanding that it was hard to find an opponent,” Shevchenko clarified.
“I’m just here, training all the time, almost every day, waiting for the call. I’ve been ready since I don’t know — since September? If they call me tomorrow, I’m ready tomorrow.”
It seemed obvious that the UFC would schedule the rematch to end the fight without any controversy after the challenging test Santos handed Shevchenko in her most recent defense.
With Santos scheduled to take against Erin Blanchfield in February, that is obviously not the case.
“I want to fight frequently, but I realize this is a problem for the UFC to find opponents in order for me to fight frequently,” said Shevchenko. “My understanding is that everyone would love to fight for a title, so what’s happening with you girls? Why so quiet?”
Shevchenko is willing to face any female the UFC puts in front of her and would want to fight in March.
Alexa Grasso, who has a four-fight winning run, has the best chance of obtaining the chance.
“The champion is ready, so just bring everyone who is ready,” she said. “March sounds like very good timing. It’s already January and with all the holidays and New Year, it’s going to run so quickly. March is good timing; it’s kind of perfect. And I would say that I’m open to all opportunities,” she added. “I like the idea of all these potential challengers.’’
The 2023 goal for the Kyrgyzstan-born athlete is to achieve “champ champ” status, with a potential matchup against either strawweight champion Zhang Weili or bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes in mind. Shevchenko wants to defend her flyweight title once more before entering the annals of history.
“After this break, I would like to defend my belt once more for the next one, but yes, I’m definitely ready for Amanda and Weili. Weili did a very good fight her last fight, she got stronger, and it’s very interesting to watch her fight. I’m definitely open to fight any of these girls.”
Shevchenko has lost against Nunes on two previous occasions.
But she’s always had the idea of a trilogy match in the back of her mind. Without a doubt, Nunes won the first match by a unanimous vote, but in the second, the vote was divided, leading many to believe that the judges made a mistake that evening.