Despite her lengthy absence from the cage, due to an unfortunate series of injures, Paige VanZant remains one of the most visible stars in the UFC flyweight division. Yet while she is likely only a few wins away from a title shot, she doesn’t envision anybody beating the division’s reigning champion, Valentina Shevchenko.
Luckily, VanZant doesn’t expect to ever be tasked with solving the Shevchenko puzzle.
“I am going to be real honest. She is terrifying. I plan on being in the UFC, training forever. She will probably retire before I fight for the title, to be totally honest,” VanZant said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday (transcript via MMA Mania).
“I am only 25 so I want to work my way up. As far as anyone I see right now to dethrone her, no there is nobody,” she added.
While Paige VanZant doesn’t expect to fight Valentina Shevchenko, the pair do share some history. When the UFC was looking to crown its inaugural women’s flyweight champion, both women were in consideration for a title shot. In that timeframe, Shevchenko had a few choice words for VanZant.
Despite this previous heat Paige VanZant says she has lots of respect for the champion. She’s particularly blown away by the Kyrgyzstani star’s striking arsenal, which she says is unlike anything she’s seen before.
Shevchenko’s striking, of course, was on full display last weekend, when she nearly decapitated a game challenger in Jessica Eye with a second-round head kick.
“I know she has said bad things about me in the past, but I don’t care,” VanZant said. “Her striking is absolutely next-level and she is so methodical and technical in her striking. It’s like nothing I have ever seen before. So I am working on being like her. I want striking like hers. So, congrats to the champ, it was just an awesome performance.”
What do you think of these honest comments from Paige VanZant?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 6/18/2019.