Valentina Shevchenko knows a little something about Joanna Jedrzejczyk. The two faced off three times in Muay Thai matches over the years. Shevchenko, albeit the bigger woman, beat Jedrzejczyk on all three occasions.
Shevchenko also trains with Rose Namajunas at 303 Training Center in Colorado. So, “Bullet” had a unique perspective going into the UFC women’s strawweight title fight between her current teammate and former foe at UFC 217 last month.
And Shevchenko was confident from the jump that Namajunas would take the title from Jedrzejczyk.
“I knew from the first seconds when I heard that they will fight, I knew that Rose will win,” Shevchenko said recently on The MMA Hour. “Because I’ve tried the power of Rose and I’ve tried the power of Joanna and I know exactly what powers both girls have. I knew and everybody was asking me before they fight, ‘Who do you think will win?’ Every time, I was saying it will be Rose. They didn’t believe me. But after the fight, it’s no doubt.”
Namajunas, of course, did get the victory. She beat Jedrzejczyk by knockout at 3:03 of the first round at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Though many were surprised by just how quickly — and the manner — that Namajunas won, Shevchenko said she was not shocked in the least.
“Rose, she is not only striker, she is not only grappler,” Shevchenko said. “She is MMA fighter. And what’s important is she’s a complete fighter, because she can grapple as good as wrestle, [as good] as [her] boxing and Muay Thai, whatever.”
Jedrzejczyk said she expects to get an immediate rematch against Namajunas for the 115-pound title sometime early next year. The Polish striker held the belt from March 2015 and was undefeated going into the fight with Namajunas.
If that does indeed go down, Shevchenko does not foresee any change in the outcome, but she does expect Jedrzejczyk to train harder and prepare better. Shevchenko said Namajunas was not shaken by Jedrzejczyk’s trash talk and intensity in the staredowns, and she doesn’t think it’ll be different the next time.
“Rose will do her thing, she will be focused only on her fight and just to show the skills,” Shevchenko said. “This is what we saw. I'm very happy for Rose, because she deserves it. I know exactly she will be very good champion at 115 and I think for a long time.”