Valentina Shevchenko targeted on flyweight run, when Amanda Nunes trilogy bout occurs it will likely be ‘enormous’
It’s anybody’s guess as to who’s subsequent to problem Valentina Shevchenko and the champion is as stumped as anybody.
Arguably the UFC’s most dominant present champion, “Bullet” dispatched one other foe in brief order at UFC 261 on Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla., methodically out-grappling Jessica Andrade earlier than ending with ground-and-pound in spherical two. Andrade has been probably the most feared fighters in three completely different divisions, however Shevchenko fully outclassed her as she has all of her opponents at 125 kilos.
So what’s subsequent for her after a fifth straight profitable protection of the flyweight title?
“I don’t know, for me it appears quite simple once you’re like, ‘Okay, this identify, that identify,’” Shevchenko stated at the night’s post-fight press convention. “It’s like everybody does that, the names. I wish to do one thing completely different. I wish to simply proceed exhibiting and being an actual martial artist. Not somebody who, ‘Okay, this identify is handy, prefer it’s bringing extra stuff. And this one isn’t so.’ I simply don’t like these items. I wish to be very trustworthy in what I do and simply proceed what I do in my weight class and my division. It doesn’t matter who’s gonna be in entrance of me, I simply wish to battle them to show that I’m higher.
“I actually like how this battle performed earlier than the battle, when individuals created a lot curiosity about like, ‘Jessica, she brings a lot’ and even some individuals have been doubting if I might deal with it. However from one level, I simply didn’t wish to say something earlier than the battle, I actually favored it as a result of from one aspect it created some sort of curiosity for the battle and everybody like, ‘Possibly that is one thing.’ However I used to be so positive in my energy, what I can do, and what I can convey, that’s why I used to be like, okay, it’s going to be a shock for you, I’ll allow you to consider in your energy.”
Although Shevchenko drew motivation from the thought that Andrade would possibly truly be a menace to her, she insists that she nonetheless maintained her cool particularly when it got here to the precise battle. A champion in kickboxing and muay Thai, Shevchenko prides herself on her versatility and in proving that she has few weaknesses (if any).
She admitted that she additionally bought a lift from the gang on the VyStar Veterans Memorial Enviornment in Jacksonville, Fla., the primary sold-out enviornment for the UFC for the reason that outbreak of COVID-19 in March of final yr.
“I attempt to not convey any emotional issues within the battle,” Shevchenko stated when requested if she was indignant going into Saturday’s battle. “I felt extra it’s about followers. They convey me this sense that I had at the moment. Like I stated, my vitality simply strike all the way in which up and I used to be like, ‘Okay!’
“It’s sort of attention-grabbing, in the event you might see like fights that I had earlier than, for instance after I fought Holly Holm everyone was pondering that she’s gonna out-strike me. No, my physique decides I’ll out-strike her. After I fought Julianna Pena, everybody stated, ‘It’s gonna be a submission. In the event that they go to the bottom, Julianna’s going to submit her.’ No, I submit her. So my physique determined, not me. I simply put together for doing this.”
Shevchenko has been such an unrelenting drive at 125 kilos, it’s troublesome to foresee who could possibly be worthy of difficult her subsequent even with contenders Lauren Murphy, Joanne Calderwood, and Viviane Araujo trying to cement their case within the subsequent few months. A trilogy bout with two-division champion Amanda Nunes appears inevitable provided that they’re firmly entrenched on the high of the ladies’s pound-for-pound rankings.
Nunes holds two determination wins over Shevchenko, however their most up-to-date battle was over three years in the past and each bouts occurred at 135 kilos. Shevchenko was aggressive in these two fights and whereas she’s not chasing one other likelihood to beat Nunes, she thinks the trilogy bout is inevitable.
“I can say precisely about my combating profession, it’s not gonna [be] over quickly,” Shevchenko stated. “I plan to battle for a very long time. I believe that this battle is simply going to occur. I’m not going to push it like, give me Amanda proper now, I’m gonna break her face. I’m not gonna say it as a result of I do know this battle’s gonna occur. It’s gonna occur simply actually when everybody will really feel like there isn’t a extra, solely this battle is sensible for everybody.
“When all of the followers are like, ‘We wish this. We wish to see this battle.’ When the UFC and Dana White are like, ‘We simply want this battle.’ I believe that when it’s time to occur, it’s gonna be one thing huge and big and I will likely be prepared for this. I’m already prepared for this, however I’ll ensure to realize some kilos again.”
Pressed for a reputation, Shevchenko caught to her weapons and stated she’ll have to attend and see what names emerge over the following few months. Moreover, together with her sights squarely set on Andrade for the previous few months, she hasn’t even saved up with the remainder of the flyweight panorama.
“I do know proper now everybody desires to listen to a reputation straight after the battle, like give me the following identify,” Shevchenko stated. “Nevertheless it’s onerous for me to do proper now as a result of after I ready for Jessica, I used to be pondering solely about Jessica. I even don’t know who’s going to battle in my flyweight division subsequent. I don’t know who’s subsequent combating as a result of I used to be so targeted on my battle. Now I am going dwelling tomorrow and I’ll begin to see what’s occurring in flyweight.”