Valentina Shevchenko has sights set on super fight with Zhang Weili or Amanda Nunes: “I’m definitely ready for Amanda and Weili”

By Lewis Simpson - January 9, 2023

UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko is having a tough time getting matched with willing contenders.

Valentina Shevchenko

Shevchenko made the seventh consecutive defence of her gold strap with a controversial split decision win over Taila Santos at UFC 275. It was the first time anyone had seen the champion tested since her second meeting with Amanda Nunes in 2017.

Having had aspirations of fighting before the year ended, Shevchenko was disappointed at only competing once in 2022. In an interview with the UFC, the 34-year-old stated she was ready to go, but nothing materialized. 

Valentina Shevchenko frustrated with lack of activity

“I wanted to fight in December, but it’s my understanding that it was hard to find an opponent,” Shevchenko explained. “I’m just here, training all the time, almost every day, waiting for the call. I’ve been ready since I don’t know — since September? If they call me tomorrow, I’m ready tomorrow.”

After the difficult test, Santos gave Shevchenko in her most recent defence, it felt inevitable that the UFC would book the rematch to conclude the bout without any controversy. That’s clearly not the case, with Santos set to face Erin Blanchfield in Feb.

“I want to fight frequently, but I realize this is a problem for the UFC to find opponents in order for me to fight frequently,” said Shevchenko. “My understanding is that everyone would love to fight for a title, so what’s happening with you girls? Why so quiet?”

Ideally, Shevchenko would like to fight in March and is open to fighting any woman the UFC give her. Alexa Grasso, who rides a four-fight win streak, is the most likely to get the opportunity.

“The champion is ready, so just bring everyone who is ready,” she said. “March sounds like very good timing. It’s already January and with all the holidays and New Year, it’s going to run so quickly. March is good timing; it’s kind of perfect. And I would say that I’m open to all opportunities,” she added. “I like the idea of all these potential challengers.

Shevchenko targets double-champion status

The Kyrgyzstan-born seeks ‘champ champ’ status in 2023, with her eyes locked on a potential bout with bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes or strawweight champion Zhang Weili. That being said, before writing her name in the history books, Shevchenko wants to defend her flyweight crown again.

“After this break, I would like to defend my belt once more for the next one, but yes, I’m definitely ready for Amanda and Weili. Weili did a very good fight her last fight, she got stronger, and it’s very interesting to watch her fight. I’m definitely open to fight any of these girls.”

Quotes via Middle Easy

In the past, Shevchenko has come up short twice against Nunes. However, a trilogy bout has always been in the back of her mind. Nunes undoubtfully won the first meeting by unanimous decision but narrowly edged a split decision in the second, with many believing the judges got it wrong on the night.

Would you rather see Valentina Shevchenko challenge, Zhang Weili or Amanda Nunes? Let us know in the comments!

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM


UFC Valentina Shevchenko