Having won the UFC women’s flyweight title with a decision defeat of Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the UFC 231 main event, Valentina Shevchenko can now look ahead to her first title defense.
There are some interesting options on the menu with respect to Shevchenko’s first title challenger. From the sounds of it, however, the new champ has no interest in defending her title against the division’s inaugural champion Nicco Montano, who she spent most of 2018 trying to fight.
“Who’s that?” Valentina Shevchenko said bluntly when asked about Nicco Montano at the UFC 231 post-fight press conference (transcript via MMA Fighting).
While Shevchenko doesn’t seem to have any interesting battling Montano, she does hope to rematch reigning UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes in the future. In fact, she says she may return to the bantamweight division when her sister Antonina Shevchenko reaches title contention at flyweight.
“My thoughts on it, I will keep this belt [while] she goes all the way to the No. 1 contender, and then I will see what I’m going to do,” Shevchenko said, discussing her sister. “Because I still have unfinished business with my opponent at bantamweight (Amanda Nunes). I know exactly I never lost that fight, and she knows that she was not the winner of that fight. And we’ll see, we’ll see. Just waiting for my sister, when she climbs up to No. 1.”
Whatever the future holds, Valentina Shevchenko says she hopes to defend her belt in the new future. As she explained this desire, she snuck in another dig at Montano.
“I don’t care who will be my next opponent. I’m ready for anyone, and this is what I want to do — to defend the belt as much as I can,” she said. “I’m healthy now. I didn’t get any hard injuries and [I want to] just straight go to the busy work again, because I don’t like to spend the time and say, ‘Okay, I’m champion and I keep my belt for a year doing nothing, just saying hello to the media and showing the belt.’ No, I want action. For me, that’s more important.
“I had to wait on the fight, when it will happen with my opponent (Montano) who was holding the belt. Now I’m the champion, I can choose the date.”
Who do you want to see Valentina Shevchenko fight next?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 12/9/2018.