Valentina Shevchenko had the best performance of her career in beating former champion Holly Holm. And then she took aim at the current champion, Amanda Nunes.
Shevchenko said at the UFC on FOX 20 post-fight press conference Saturday that Nunes wants nothing to do with her in a five-round fight. Nunes beat Shevchenko at UFC 196, but Shevchenko rallied to win the third in that bout.
"She's definitely scared," Shevchenko said in Chicago. "I'm ready for five rounds, for sure. I will take whoever I need to fight next. But I think she's definitely scared."
The comment was in direct response to tweets from Nunes that were relayed to Shevchenko (13-2) via a reporter. Nunes wrote on Twitter that she'd beat Shevchenko "very clean" next time and that Shevchenko isn't ready for a rematch just yet. The champion proposed Shevchenko face fellow contender Julianna Pena next and the winner gets a title shot.
I won the first fight with @BulletValentina by UD... if I fight her again I will beat her again, this time very clean.#UFCChicago @joerogan— Amanda Nunes (@Amanda_Leoa) July 24, 2016
I feel she needs to prove herself a little more. I think @VenezuelanVixen vs @BulletValentina. Winner comes to me— Amanda Nunes (@Amanda_Leoa) July 24, 2016
This is not the women's bantamweight rivalry anyone thought they would be talking about this week. Holm beat Rousey to win the title at UFC 193 last November. Then, back in March at UFC 196, Tate defeated Holm to earn the belt. Nunes beat Tate at UFC 200 earlier this month to continue the upheaval. Now, Shevchenko put the division on its ear yet again by beating Holm in a complete, unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46) performance.
A year ago at this time the talk was about how Ronda Rousey had no competition. Here we are and the woman who beat Rousey has already lost twice. Shevchenko and Pena are the two top contenders to Nunes' title. And that gold belt is what Shevchenko, 28, is targeting next, she said.
"I'm keeping my eyes on the bantamweight championship," she said. "These are my plans. I hope to get my revenge against Amanda Nunes. I'll do my best to make sure this happens. I know perfectly well that I need to train hard. This I promise. I will always fight with all my heart in the Octagon."