UFC queen Shevchenko reveals revenge plans
Dominant UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko has had no equal for the majority of her UFC career – but she says she would eagerly accept a third opportunity against the one woman to put a blemish on her record, Amanda Nunes, even if that means chasing the Brazilian all the way to bantamweight.
Shevchenko is no stranger to 135lbs. The Kyrgyzstani-Peruvian fighter, who is unbeaten in more than four years, has fought at bantamweight on several occasions throughout her career, most infamously for the only two defeats on her UFC ledger – both of which came via close decisions to Nunes.
Brazil's Nunes has since been hailed by most as the finest female fighter to ever grace the Octagon; a claim underscored by her becoming the first woman to hold two world titles simultaneously in the UFC.
Nunes has since lost her bantamweight crown to Julianna Pena – but with the two set to rematch later this year, Shevchenko says that the door might soon be opened for her to fight Nunes for a third time if and when she regains her world title.
“I think Amanda will definitely want to take revenge next,” said Shevchenko. “There will be another fight [between Amanda and Julianna] again because it’s obvious.
“In my opinion, the shape that Amanda was in for that fight [with Julianna] was not even close to the shape she was in when she fought me the second time. There are two different Amandas. We will see what happens after that.
“If she prepares for the rematch, does everything right then she will probably regain her belt and it’ll be another reason why I have to move up to bantamweight for our trilogy.”
That is easier said than done. Shevchenko is a natural 125lbs fighter and has spent a large part of her career fighting outside of her correct weight class simply because there was no alternative. And she says it showed in some of her performances.
“My goal is still the same. I was competing for a long time in bantamweight because there wasn’t any other option. Just strawweight and bantamweight,” she explained.
“With me being flyweight, literally 125[lbs], fighting in bigger classes meant that I had to adjust my fight game to fight with the bigger girls.
"I didn’t struggle fighting there but when you find your best weight class for your shape, it’s where you can show everything; your striking, your wrestling and it’s a great feeling.”
While she indicated that she would always welcome another do-over with Nunes, she says that she is also happy at flyweight, where she has won seven consecutive world title fights.
“I want to continue fighting at 125, defend my belt as much as I can and welcome anyone who wants to try their skills against mine,” she said.
And as for who she sees herself competing with down the line? Another former bantamweight champion comes to mind.
“Flyweight is getting more interesting every single day,” she said. “There are a lot of younger fighters getting their shape and experience.
"Then you have people like Miesha Tate coming down to test herself at the flyweight division. Something is always going on with the flyweight division.
“There will be a woman whom I have to be careful of. I’ll have to study well but it doesn’t mean I’ll be sat there worrying about them. That isn’t me.”