There seems to be a shrinking list of contenders that UFC Flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko to sink her teeth into. However she is willing to take on whoever the UFC asks of her, and plans to compete two more times this year.
It seems like a near certainty that Shevchenko will face off against Lauren Murphy next, after the number three ranked contender took out Joanne Calderwood. Considering that Valentina has run through three of the other top five women in her division, this is the fight that makes the most sense.
Speaking in a recent interview with MiddleEasy, “The Bullet” said that, while Murphy’s fight with Calderwood was close, she thought Lauren was the rightful winner. So she looks forward to likely fighting this new challenger next and continuing her reign as champ.
“I think it was very close. The second round definitely Lauren outwrestled Jo-Jo, but then in the third round it was more back and forth, with strikes on either side. I think it was a very interesting fight to watch. Two strong contenders, and it was the type of fight that nobody wanted to give up, so it was very interesting to watch it, and yeah I think Lauren Murphy won that fight,” Shevchenko said.
“I think probably (Murphy will be next), why not? It makes sense, but I (haven’t been) approached by the UFC yet about the next date and my next opponent. You know me, I don’t care much…
“I really like to fight the best one,” Shevchenko added. “The more experience the better for me, the more challenges that the opponent can bring to me, the better for me. It means it’s going to push me every time.
“That’s not to say that I’m not pushing myself in my preparation. I push myself to the limit every time, but it’s good because I really want to fight the best ones, and for me it’s the challenge that I’m looking for. The more you can bring to the game, the more challenge, it means the brighter my victory is going to be.”
As for when she looks to return, Shevchenko says that she is looking to fight in the fall, likely around September. Then, provided things go smoothly, she hopes to fight for a third time before the year ends.
“I would say fall time would be a good time, because I’m still planning to have a summer road trip. Maybe fall time, and to have two fights before the end of the year, I would be fine with that,” she said.
Valentina Shevchenko Is Staying At Flyweight
As seems to always be the case, there is still a lingering desire to see Valentina Shevchenko fight Amanda Nunes for a third time. She is 0-2 against the featherweight and bantamweight champ, but their fights are so close and both ladies are so dominant that fans want to see a third bout.
However Valentina says that she has no interest in doing that right now, even though she is always willing to face any challenge. Currently her attention is on the flyweight division, and she is focused on the tasks at hand.
“I see myself fighting at 125. I’m in this weight class division, so I will do a lot of things in my weight class,” Shevchenko noted.
That said, Nunes is currently set to face Julianna Peña, and while the champ-champ has been near flawless in her title fights, Valentina says this one could be different. Having faced both women, she feels that Julianna may offer Amanda some challenges, and she has a few paths to victory.
“I think it’s going to be a good fight, a very interested fight to watch. It all depends what mental and physical conditions are going to be at that point, but I think it’s going to be a very interesting fight to watch,” Shevchenko said.
“I think Julianna has a lot of chances, and definitely she poses a lot of physical challenges to Amanda, a lot of grappling maybe. This is what she’s going to do, right? She’s not going to stand with Amanda and strike with her and decide who has the stronger punch. I don’t think this is the idea of the fight, and I think she has a lot of opportunities to find the key for victory. It’s MMA, you never know what’s going to happen the next second.”
Watch the full interview:
It will be interesting to see Valentina Shevchenko back in the Octagon to fight Lauren Murphy. After that fight, if she ends up victorious, there will be some questions as to who the next challenger could be for her throne.