Chael Sonnen doesn’t believe Valentina Shevchenko vs. Weili Zhang is a true superfight, at least not yet.
Zhang has talked about wanting to fight Shevchenko down the line, but the flyweight champion doesn’t seem so interested. She said the Chinese champion isn’t an elite fighter and will loser her belt in her next fight. So, a champion vs. champion fight doesn’t make sense, and Sonnen agrees.
“I think Zhang needs to rematch Joanna, and I’m just hearing that. I know Dana has supported that a bit. To go back to the “Bullet” I think she made a misstep here,” Chael Sonnen said on ESPN’s Ariel & The Bad Guy. “First off that is just not a superfight, her vs. Weili is just not. But, that will change with time. But it’s going to take just that, time. Don’t forget there is a little bit of tradition that goes on with these superfights. You are going to be given the opportunity to be a champ-champ…
“If you are going to do that, that happens when you clean out your division and someone one weight class away has cleaned out their division. That is just not the case, at least for Weili,” he added. “She is brand new, she just has one title defense. Now it is looking like she’ll do an immediate rematch of that, and even if it doesn’t Rose is waiting in the wings. Even if Rose doesn’t come through, Tatiana Suarez is a top contender.
“What I am trying to propose to you is the Bullet is being very wise because she is running out of options,” Sonnen continued. “It is very smart for her to get something going and why not do it with a champ.”
Valentina Shevchenko is set to defend her flyweight strap at UFC 251 against Joanne Calderwood. If she wins that, who she will fight next is uncertain so a fight against Amanda Nunes or the strawweight champion makes sense.
But, as Sonnen points out, Zhang only has one title defense to her name and many expect her to rematch Jedrzejczyk or fight Rose Namajunas next.
So, for the time being, it doesn’t seem Shevchenko vs. Zhang will happen and for Sonnen that is a good thing.
Do you agree with Chael Sonnen that Valentina Shevchenko vs. Weili Zhang is not a superfight right now? Sound off in the comment section, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 3/11/2020.