EXCLUSIVE | Valentina Shevchenko refuses to consider herself the uncrowned flyweight champion

Valentina Shevchenko on Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Last Friday, the UFC crowned it’s first ever women’s flyweight champion in Nicco Montaño, who defeated Roxanne Modafferi to earn the inaugural title. While Montaño now owns the belt, however, many expect her reign to be quite short, as long-time women’s bantamweight contender Valentina Shevchenko zeroes in on a drop to flyweight, and most likely, an immediate title shot.

In fact, many fans seem to consider Shevchenko the uncrowned flyweight queen. Yet while Shevchenko finds these opinions flattering, she is being careful not to let them get to her head. Overconfidence, after all, is a killer in MMA.

“You know, I’m very glad to hear of those things from you, and from people,” Shevchenko said of these opinions on the latest episode of BJ Penn Radio. “I really appreciate it. But from my side, I don’t want to think like this, because I know from my experience of martial arts that every time that I prepare for the fight I have to focus on me so that I prepare for a very dangerous opponent. If not, you will not do the same things in the fight. You will think, ‘Okay, I got it, it doesn’t matter.’ But no, you have to keep in your mind this way. Every time be focused, because even a not very strong opponent can knock out you if you’re too confident.”

“In all my martial arts career, I was preparing for each my fight very hard, like it’s the last time, and I will keep doing the same because it doesn’t matter for me, I don’t care,” Shevchenko continued. “I really appreciate what people are saying, but I will prepare two times more stronger than I did before. This is who I am, and I cannot do anything with [these opinions].”

Do you think Valentina Shevchenko will eventually capture the UFC women’s flyweight title?

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/12/2017.

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM