Dana White confirms Jennifer Maia is next for UFC flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko

Jennifer Maia

UFC president Dana White confirmed that Jennifer Maia is next in line to fight UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko.

Maia picked up the biggest win of her UFC career to date when she tapped out Joanne Calderwood with a first-round armbar at UFC Vegas 5. The victory improved Maia to 3-2 overall in the UFC, with previous victories over Roxanne Modafferi and Alexis Davis. By beating Calderwood, who was next in line to fight Shevchenko before taking this short-notice fight, Maia has elevated herself to an elite position at women’s 125lbs.

Although Maia’s 3-2 record might not be enough to earn someone a title shot in another division, in a weight class as shallow as the UFC women’s flyweight division, apparently it is enough. Speaking to reporters following UFC Vegas 5, White confirmed that Maia will get the next title shot against Shevchenko.

Dana White confirms that Jennifer Maia is next in line for Valentina Shevchenko

Calderwood was supposed to fight Shevchenko next but risked her title shot for this short-notice opportunity. For Maia to beat the fighter who was set to be next in line to compete for the title, it’s understandable why the UFC would go ahead and give Maia the next shot at the belt. Then again, a 3-2 record is not overly impressive, and Maia has missed weight in two of those fights. Maia did weigh in under the limit of 125lbs for this bout against Calderwood, but overall there is a risk for the UFC to trust her to make weight.

Aside from Maia, the other top contenders at 125lbs who Shevchenko hasn’t fought yet are Cynthia Calvillo, Lauren Murphy, and Jessica Andrade. Calvillo just defeated Jessica Eye, the former No. 1 title contender, in dominant fashion last month, so she could have been given the title shot. Murphy, meanwhile, is riding a three-fight win streak and defeated Modafferi in her last fight. As for Andrade, the former UFC women’s strawweight champion is moving up to 125lbs and taking on Eye this October.

However, the UFC matchmakers like Maia, a former Invicta FC champion, as the next title challenger. The Brazilian looked incredible against Calderwood, so you can see why the UFC wants to strike while the iron is hot. But based on her overall body of work in the UFC and her multiple weight misses, it’s hard to argue Maia deserves a title shot.

Do you give Jennifer Maia a shot at upsetting Valentina Shevchenko?