One way or another, Valentina Shevchenko wants her next fight to be for a UFC flyweight title.
Shevchenko claims that no date that has been set in stone for her to challenge Nicco Montano, despite her signing to fight the champion on July 28 in Calgary. At the beginning of May, Montano took to Instagram to claim that she was recovering from a tonsillectomy and that she would be ready to jump on the Shevchenko fight as soon as she was fully fit.
“Bullet” still hasn’t heard when the UFC are targeting the flyweight title fight for, but insisted that Montano should “step out” of the title picture if she is not willing to defend her belt.
“Not yet, we are not at that point [Montano vacating the title],” Shevchenko told Ariel Helwani on the latest episode of The MMA Hour, “but I think it would be very right to do things like this because if you are not ready to fight, if you don’t want to fight, you have to leave the belt — you cannot hold it.
“If you are feeling that you have health issues and you cannot fight for a long time you just have to leave it. When you come back you have a right to fight for this belt again. It’s not the right thing to just hold [the belt] and say it’s mine forever. Either you are fighting and defending or you should step out.”
According to Shevchenko, Montano didn’t accept the July 28 fight in Calgary, but she is expected to be back in action by the end of the summer.
“First Nicco said she was ready for July 7thand the they came back to her with July 28th, but she said no. I don’t know what she’s thinking. Maybe she thinks she has done everything she wanted to in her life and she’s ready to go and retire — I don’t know.
“I understand that she will be ready some time at the end of the summer. I will be here waiting to fight for the title. She just can’t run all the time, you have to stop sometimes. I just do my job. I never stop training so I’m always in good shape. I just have to wait my time and see how it turns out,” she said.
The decorated Muay Thai champion is starting to think that Montano is avoiding her.
“Yes, I feel a bit like she is [avoiding me], but I also think it could be her strategy. I don’t know if they have approached her for a date at the end of the summer, if not maybe she will accept it, but nobody can be sure if she will be fighting by then. Maybe at the very last second she could say that she still has some kind of injury and she cannot fight. Maybe it will happen, so I will continue to do my job and keep training,” Shevchenko said.
“I think another part of her plan is her thinking that I will lose my patience and ask for another fight. Then I will fight another fight and she will be expecting that something will happen in this fight. I’m waiting for my title fight. It will happen.”