UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko isn’t worried about Erin Blanchfield.
‘Bullet’ is slated to make her return this Saturday night at UFC 285 against Alexa Grasso. The bout will be Shevchenko’s first since defeating Taila Santos by split-decision last June. Following that bout, the Brazilian called for an instant rematch, but it didn’t come to fruition.
Instead, the fastly-rising Grasso got the title shot. However, while fans are excited about Shevchenko’s return, some are already looking forward to what could be next. That next challenge could come in the form of Erin Blanchfield. ‘Cold Blooded’ submitted former champion, Jessica Andrade, her eighth win in a row earlier this month.
Following that victory, the women’s flyweight prospect called to face the winner of Valentina Shevchenko vs. Alexa Grasso. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, the champion discussed the callout. Simply put, Shevchenko isn’t that bothered by it.
In the interview, the champion compared Erin Blanchfield’s recent callouts to those made by Maycee Barber in the past. ‘The Future’ previously called out Shevchenko but failed to earn a title shot when breaking into the top five.
“It’s fun to see these young athletes speak out,” says Valentina Shevchenko, responding to Blanchfield’s callout. “She has five fights experience [in the UFC]. That’s nothing. That’s not traveling to other countries or competing against their best. I remember Maycee Barber, she said something similar about beating everyone and becoming champion. But once a person deals with struggles, it can either break them or build their confidence. Let’s not forget that Jéssica took the fight on one week’s notice. She beat her, but was that Jéssica’s best? Doubtful.” (h/t Sports Illustrated)
She continued, “I have no time for anything else but training and hard sparring. I’m celebrating 30 years as a martial artist. I have a true dedication to the art. When I am true to martial arts, I am true to myself… I’m a complete martial artist. I don’t rely on one technique. I have high expectations and I cannot disappoint myself. But it all starts with me controlling my own thoughts. I always remain strong, and I am always pushing myself to be better. There are still a lot of ways for me to be better.”
What do you make of these comments? Do you agree? Sound off in the comment section below PENN Nation!