Not long ago, long-time UFC strawweight star Paige VanZant took to Twitter to announce that she would be getting the first crack at the new UFC women’s flyweight champion crowned by the current season of The Ultimate Fighter. Shortly thereafter, top bantamweight contender Valentina Shevchenko, who has long flirted with a drop to flyweight, challenged this assertion from VanZant, and challenged her to a title eliminator.
Speaking on the latest episode of BJ Penn Radio, Valentina Shevchenko explained her choice to call out Paige VanZant.
“This is the thing. I think if she is so sure that she will fight for the title, I think it’s better to prove that you are deserving,” Shevchenko said on BJ Penn Radio. “Because you cannot jump [the line] and say, “okay, here I am. I am ready for the title fight.” No, you cannot do this.”
“You have to fight with the top fighters to receive this opportunity to fight for the title,” she continued. “If, for example, you show that you are ready for the [title] fight, okay, take it. You will fight for the title. But if not, you have to work on it.”
“If you are ready to fight for the title in high, top-level competition, you have to accept all fights with all top challengers.”
Unfortunately, this callout from Shevchenko was turned down by VanZant and her team. This, however, did not come as much of a surprise to Shevchenko.
“Since early [on], I was not expecting too much that she will accept the fight,” Shevchenko said. “It would be great if she accepts the fight, though I knew that she turned down the fight with Jessica Eye. So I knew this is a big possibility to turn down the fight from her side. That’s why I was like, ‘doesn’t matter.'”
Would you be interested in a potential flyweight bout between Valentina Shevchenko and Paige VanZant?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 15/11/2017.