At this point, should we start feeling bad for whoever is chosen to face UFC Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko next?
At UFC 247 in Houston, “The Bullet” retained her title for the third time, dispatching of contender Katlyn Chookagian with ease. Shevchenko (19-3) used her swift skills to outpace Chookagian (13-3). She landed multiple combination punches and landed kicks to the leg and face of “Blonde Fighter”, who was giving nothing back.
Shevchenko then landed an elbow on the ground that sliced Chookagian open. From there, the shark was playing with its food. She hit a spinning heel and axe kick, and in the third landed a takedown. Shevchenko then had her in the crucifix and started barreling down on punches to the face. The referee had no choice but to stop the bout 1:03 into the round.
STILL DOMINANT. 🏆
— UFC (@ufc) February 9, 2020
Now that she added another victim to her trophy case, who will Valentina face next? There are other contenders within her division who haven’t gotten a shot, something the champion is interested in.
“We just watched the rankings of flyweights with (UFC broadcaster) Laura Sanko, and it was like, after Katlyn and Jessica Eye, it is (Joanne) ‘JoJo’ Calderwood, it’s Jennifer Maia, and Roxanne Modafferi,” Shevchenko stated at the post-fight press conference, via MMA Fighting. “These three girls, I think they are strong fighters, very good skills, and each one they have different style of fighting. I would love to fight anyone from them.”
When looking at the UFC’s rankings, Jessica Eye (14-7, 1NC), who lost to Valentina back at UFC 238, ranks number one. Ranked at number three below Chookagian is Calderwood (14-4) , who just beat Andrea Lee via split decision at UFC 242. Maia (17-6-1), who lost to Chookagian in November, is fourth, while Modafferi (24-16), who just beat rising prospect Maycee Barber at UFC 246, is ranked fifth.
Those aren’t the only fights to make. Prior to UFC 247, Valentina blew off talks of a rematch with Amanda Nunes, the UFC’s Banamtweight and Featherweight Champion. This was only to focus on the Chookagian fight. That is not to say a fight is impossible to make now. Nunes is 2-0 against Valentina, and both seem to want to run it back. The idea to go up to 135 pounds, however, isn’t that enticing at the moment.
“I started to fight in UFC in bantamweight, (and) it’s not my natural weight class,” Shevchenko went on to say. “For example, my walk weight is 135, bantamweight. For 125, I’m not cutting at all, so it’s my perfect, natural weight class, and I’m so happy that the UFC has this weight class where I can feel natural. I can do everything what I’m doing right now. That’s why I just want to continue defending my belt, but I’m not discarding any opportunities in the future.
“As I say before the fight, this fight with Amanda, it’s something beyond what she wants, I want. It’s not there anymore. It’s just gonna happen sometime. I don’t know when. I’m not saying, okay, tomorrow – no, probably not. But it’s going to happen sometime, and when it happens I will be ready.”
A fight against Weili Zhang is possible, if she is still Strawweight Champion after UFC 248.
Valentina has a number of fighters who are knocking at her door. They are only just a little hesitant to do so. The UFC will have a lot to think about in the next few months, as any fight Shevchenko is in can end just like that.
Who would you like to see “The Bullet” face?