'Bring her on!' Valentina Shevchenko calls for third fight with fellow UFC women's champ Amanda Nunes (VIDEO)
"When I started fighting in the UFC, I always fought in the 135-pound division," she told UFC Russia.
"That's a division higher than where I fight now. So all my opponents were heavier, taller and stronger than me. I had no problems with that.
"I felt confident in that division, but when you're fighting in a weight class above you, you feel that it's not for you since you have to try harder, think more about what you have to do and you can't reach your potential because you always have to be careful because the fighters are stronger."Also on rt.com UFC 250: MMA's female GOAT Amanda Nunes returns to defend her featherweight title (VIDEO)
Shevchenko was a major threat to the 135-pound title during her time as a bantamweight, and pushed Nunes to the limit in their title fight at UFC 215. But she ended up on the losing end of a split-decision verdict after a fight many people – including Shevchenko herself – felt she had won.
"I want to reiterate that I never had any problems fighting there, I fought for the 135-pound title, and many people, not just me, think that I won that fight against Amanda," she said.
"If you watch that fight again, more people will agree. It was very disputable."
Following that defeat, Shevchenko dropped down to her natural weight class to be a part of the UFC's newly-formed women's flyweight division, and two fights later became the UFC's 125-pound women's champ. It's a position she has held ever since, having claimed a hat-trick of dominant victories in title defenses.Also on rt.com 'I really broke some bones': Hollywood star Halle Berry speaks on bruising fight scenes with UFC champ Valentina Shevchenko
Now she's established at her optimal weight class, Shevchenko said she has no plans to start bouncing between weight classes, and will instead build her legacy at her natural weight.
"When UFC finally opened the 125-pound division, that was my weight division where I can fully reach my potential," said Shevchenko.
"I wouldn't drop down to 115 pounds, that's 52 kilograms, right? To fight at 115 pounds I'd have to spend a lot of time on my diet as opposed to my training sessions. At 125 pounds I don't think about dieting because it's my natural weight, I focus on training.
"At 135 pounds I focused on training and gaining weight. Right now it's important for me to fight in the right weight division, to fully focus on my training and to improve myself during my training sessions. Right now I feel like I'm in the right place, at the right time, in the right weight division. I want to do as much as I can in right where I'm at."Also on rt.com ‘She’s a f*cking savage!’: Valentina ‘Bullet’ Shevchenko batters Katlyn Chookagian to retain flyweight title at UFC 247
Does this mean that "Bullet" is gunning for a title defenses record in the UFC?
"Let's not make predictions!" she said.
"We don't know what'll happen in 2-3 days, especially in these unusual times. I'm just telling you my plans, but as far as what'll happen in the future - we'll see."
While Shevchenko's days of fighting in different weight classes may be a thing of the past, she said she'd be happy to take on any champion from another division if they make 125 pounds and challenge her for the title. If that means a possible third fight with Nunes – who returns to action at UFC 250 on Saturday in Las Vegas – she'd be delighted.
"I'd love to!" she said.
"I'd love to fight Amanda Nunes at 125 pounds. She said she can easily cut weight, bring her on!
"I think anything is possible."Also on rt.com 'Cro Cop-esque': Valentina Shevchenko knocks out Jessica Eye with HUGE head kick at UFC 238 (VIDEO)