Valentina Shevchenko believes Weili Zhang doesn’t deserve the chance to fight her for the women’s flyweight championship.
After Zhang beat Jessica Andrade at UFC Shenzhen back in August, she spoke about wanting to move up and fight Shevchenko. Yet, the flyweight champion says Zhang only became a UFC champ because of lucky circumstances.
Shevchenko also believes Zhang has a ton of worthy opponents to fight at strawweight before stepping up to 125lbs.
“A few months ago nobody knew the name of the Chinese girl Weili,” Shevchenko said to MMAFighting. “I don’t know what number she was but because of lucky circumstances she became champion but she still has to prove that she is in the right place and she’s there because no one is better than her.
“Because my opinion, she still has Joanna, she’s a very hard test for her. She has Rose [Namajunas] and she’s also a very hard test for her and she has Tatiana Suarez. So before she proves that she’s better than them, I think it’s not right to jump over the stairs. It’s not right.”
Weili Zhang is set to defend her strawweight belt for the first time against Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248. Should she get past “JJ”, she would likely have to fight the winner of Namajunas-Andrade or Tatiana Suarez next.
If the Chinese champion can do that, Shevchenko says she may be interested in the scrap.
“She has a lot of things to prove yet,” Shevchenko said. “I’m really open but I would say I would accept it with someone who will show that they are there [at the top].”
For Valentina Shevchenko she is set to defend her flyweight title against Katlyn Chookagian in the co-main event of UFC 247. Before that, she earned a decision win over Liz Carmouche and knocked out Jessica Eye.
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This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 2/4/2020.