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7 Feb, 2020 16:19

MMA fighter Valentina Shevchenko denies she’s a deep-cover spy – but admits she LOVES 007 & guns as she prepares for UFC 247

MMA fighter Valentina Shevchenko denies she’s a deep-cover spy – but admits she LOVES 007 & guns as she prepares for UFC 247

As multi-talented MMA fighters go, Valentina Shevchenko is arguably the most skilled. Fluent in English, Spanish and Russian, the UFC flyweight champion is also a sharp shooter and expert in guns, modelling herself on James Bond.

The polymathic fighter has multiple languages and weaponry in common with James Bond, having tried out the gun given to the famous fictional British spy in the Ian Fleming novel, Dr No.

Shevchenko used the Walther PPK during a visit to The Arms Room in Texas, shooting at a circular target with a replica of the weapon seen in the film version of the Bond film, in 1962, and used by the character until 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies.

Asked by former MMA star Ben Askren how much she has in common with Bond, she called 007 the “perfect picture of a universal person.”

“He can do everything,” she added. “Boxing, striking, kicking, wrestling, ground. Anything.

“Driving cars, driving planes, sailing boats, shooting from whatever arm he wants. My motivation in my life is to be kind of a similar person, to know more, to learn every time, to get different knowledge.

“It’s inspired me a lot and that’s why I keep my lifestyle that I have now the same way.”

Shevchenko has often provided in-depth insights into her love of guns and shooting, detailing her favorite weapons since she was introduced to ranges by coach Pavel Fedotov, a former Soviet soldier.

Fedotov, who will oversee Shevchenko’s title defence against Katlyn Chookagian at UFC 247 this weekend, had his knowledge instilled by his grandfather, who participated in three wars and was an officer.

Shevchenko pursued her passion after moving to Peru in her early 20s. Her early experiences had been with pneumatic weapons during her early combat training in Russia, firing a Russian Margolin sports pistol and a .22 Walther Pistol.

Among her personal collection, the fighter who takes the nickname of bullet has a .25 Browning Baby and a 1935 Soviet Mosin rifle, which was provided by one of her sponsors, the Houston Shooting Range.

She took part in shooting competitions during her time in South America, learning to hit targets and fix weaponry on the move in a pursuit she compared to MMA for the qualities it instilled of discipline, mental focus, quick-thinking and physical speed.

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The Gluck 19, which she has tattooed on her lower abdomen, is the gun she loves most, and the 702 Range in Las Vegas is her perfect practise spot. “Every time I go there, I focus on how to be better, how to be faster, how to have more precision,” she smiled in the build-up to UFC 238.

“Now I feel that it has the same part in my life as martial arts. The Gluck gun is good because it is very easy to carry.

“When we were in the Amazon, you could not bring different kinds of guns. You had to have one that was very secure. It can survive in different weather conditions. That’s why I have the tattoo on my body.”

Her current weapon of choice is the Super revolver Smith and Wesson Governor .410, which she admires because of its versatility, giving her the ability to shoot .45 Colt, .45 ACP and .410 Shotgun shells at the same time.

Indeed, such is Shevchenko’s expert knowledge of weaponry, as well as her fighting skills, there have been some outlandish - and somewhat tongue-in-cheek - claims that she could even be a deep state agent. 

Speaking to 'The Schmo' ahead of UFC 247 this weekend, Shevchenko dismissed those claims - but said:

"I'm not a spy, but you know, James Bond is the perfect picture of a universal picture... this is my kind of motivation," she said.  

Bond would certainly admire Shevchenko’s durability. The pound-for-pound number two is unbeaten since September 2017 and has successfully defended her belt twice since winning it from Joanna Jedrzejczyk at the end of 2018.