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Valentina Shevchenko challenges Paige VanZant to UFC flyweight title eliminator

UFC on FOX 20 Workouts Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Paige VanZant tweeted over the weekend that she was next for the impending UFC flyweight champion. Valentina Shevchenko has other ideas.

Shevchenko, coming off a title challenge at bantamweight, is planning a drop down to flyweight, her more natural weight class. On Thursday, the Muay Thai ace challenged VanZant to a title eliminator on Twitter. Shevchenko’s manager Roger Allen told MMA Fighting that Shevchenko is serious about wanting the potential fight.

“Don't rush girl,” Shevchenko wrote. “If you want a title fight, first fight me.”

“Bullet” added the hashtag “don’t blink” for good measure at the end of the tweet.

On Saturday after UFC 217 in New York, UFC president Dana White said that VanZant will actually not be fighting for the UFC flyweight belt next. The first champion in that division will be crowded at The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale on Dec. 1 in Las Vegas. The season of the show is currently airing on FS1 with the quarterfinals of the title tournament airing this week and next.

Shevchenko (14-3) fell by very close split decision to Amanda Nunes in a women’s bantamweight title fight at UFC 215 in September. She competed in kickboxing and Muay Thai closer to the 125-pound flyweight limit.

VanZant (7-3) has vowed that her next fight would be at flyweight after brutal weight cuts at 115 pounds. She’s coming off a first-round submission loss to Michelle Waterson at UFC on FOX 22 last December.

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