EXCLUSIVE | Valentina Shevchenko is not expecting an easy fight from Nicco Montano

Top UFC women’s flyweight contender Valentina Shevchenko has been gunning for the division’s inaugural champion Nicco Montano for months. Now that Montano is fighting fit, it looks as though the pair will be booked to fight at UFC 228 on September 8.

“No contracts have been signed but I’m told verbal agreements are in place to have Valentina Shevchenko challenge Nicco Montano for the UFC flyweight title at UFC 228,” BJPENN.COM’s Chris Taylor reported in mid-June.

Whenever this fight occurs, Shevchenko is likely to enter the cage as a significant betting favorite over the champion. In fact, the perception among many fans seems to be that Shevchenko is the uncrowned queen at 125 pounds, and that Montano is simply keeping the throne warm for her.

While many fans seem to be counting Montano out, however, Shevchenko herself is not taking the fight lightly. She expects a tough fight from the champion when the cage door closes.

“You know, like I say every time, I don’t expect an easy fight from no one,” Shevchenko said on the latest episode of BJPENN.COM Radio (edited for clarity). “And I will be preparing for this fight as I do for each of my fights.

“Actually, I don’t believe in easy fights. To have easy fights, you have to prepare as soon as you can. This is what I will do, and it doesn’t matter if it will be Nicco or someone else, I every time will be training, putting everything [into it] to do the best I can. This is my style of thinking about preparation, about training, about everything.”

Whatever the case, Shevchenko is just hoping that Montano will sign on the dotted line, and make their UFC 228 fight official. She wants to get this show on the road.

“[The] only one thing that I want from Nicco, it’s to see her inside the octagon on September 8th. This is it,” Shevchenko said.

“[Montano has] already said that she’s healthy enough, she’s [gotten] back to the training, and she already started her training for the fight, so I actually don’t see any reasonable reasons [for the fight not to happen at UFC 228].”

Do you think Valentina Shevchenko will capture the UFC women’s flyweight belt when she battles Nicco Montano?

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/5/2018.