At UFC 231 in Toronto on December 8, the women’s flyweight title will be on the line. However, there will be no champion defending it, as former champion Nicco Montano was stripped of the title after failing to reach the scale at UFC 228.
Come December, the current number one flyweight contender Valentina Shevchenko will take on the former strawweight queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk. It is an interesting matchup, as, before Rose Namajunas, Jedrzejczyk was unbeatable at 115-pounds but did struggle with her weight cuts. While Shevchenko arguably won the bantamweight title in a fight against Amanda Nunes that ended up being a split-decision win for Nunes.
Both women have shown what it takes to be a champion but come December 8 only one will be the flyweight champion and Shevchenko believes she will be the champion. She has already beaten Jedrzejczyk three times before in kickboxing competition and will use that experience to her advantage.
“Every experience is an experience, it doesn’t matter how long ago it was,” Shevchenko told MMAjunkie Radio. “We fought with Joanna in 2006, in 2007 and 2008 in World Championships. We fought in a weight class similar to 125 pounds. It’s 57 kg. We had our history. When I moved up to 60 kg, Joanna went on to win several World Championships. I know Joanna what her style is. I’ve seen her recent fights and everything. She’s a good fighter and a very high-level striker. But even in muay-Thai when we are fighting in (the) stand-up fight, we do the same muay-Thai style, but we have different styles as well.”
With Valentina Shevchenko already winning three times over the former strawweight queen, she knows she has the striking advantage as all three of their previous fights were standup only.
“In the close distance, the high distance I can use more weapons as well because I can throw turning kicks, spinning kicks – everything,” Shevchenko said. “This is the more advantage that I have. I have more wide techniques I can choose for her. I will prepare and it will be a good fight.”
A good fight it should be, but for Shevchenko, she is just happy she will finally get a chance to fight for the flyweight title after Montano pulled out of UFC 228. Shevchenko has no worries that Jedrzejczyk will make weight and the fight will happen in Toronto.
“I’m glad UFC came up with this decision because now we can be 100 percent sure that this fight will happen because Joanna is professional,” Shevchenko said. “She will do everything right to prepare for the fight. I can be more relaxed without thinking, ‘Oh, maybe it will be someone else at the final minute, my opponent will drop out and they’ll have to find a replacement.’ Now I can be more relaxed preparing just exactly for Joanna.”
Ultimately, Valentina Shevchenko will start preparing for the fight soon, but where she will train for the fight is up in the air. It is likely that she spends time training in Colorado with Namajunas who is the only girl to beat Jedrzejczyk in the UFC.
Do you agree with Valentina Shevchenko’s comments?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/25/2018.