Valentina Shevchenko is solely focused on the flyweight division and defending her UFC title, but that doesn’t mean she loses sight of the big picture in her career.
The reigning 125-pound champion has looked unstoppable since moving down to a more natural weight class following her initial run in the UFC at bantamweight.
While competing at 135 pounds, Shevchenko managed to pick up high-profile wins over fighters such as Holly Holm and Julianna Pena while giving Amanda Nunes arguably the toughest opposition she’s faced during her current nine-fight win streak.
Because Nunes has essentially steam rolled every other opponent she’s faced in the past four years outside of Shevchenko, it’s easy to understand the interest in a third fight between them. Shevchenko would obviously love the opportunity to avenge the only two losses she’s suffered over the past eight years but she’s also not losing sight of what’s most important to her right now.
“I just take everything as it comes. It doesn’t mean that I have to think about it all the time,” Shevchenko told MMA Fighting when asked about a potential fight against Nunes. “When it comes, I will think about this matter. For now, I’m focused on my weight division.
“I was waiting for a long time before flyweight was open. Because every time I was fighting with the bigger, longer, taller opponents at 135 [pounds]. Now finally I have the opportunity to show myself in the weight class where I belong.”
This weekend, Shevchenko will put her title on the line against Liz Carmouche, who is the only other fighter to hold a win over her. That fight took place nearly a decade ago and Shevchenko was stopped due to a nasty cut suffered over her eyebrow but she’s anxious to avenge the defeat no matter how it happened.
That’s not necessarily the case with Nunes because Shevchenko truly believes she should have earned a decision win over the reigning two-division UFC champion in their last meeting. Instead it was Nunes who left that night with a split decision victory and the UFC bantamweight title around her waist.
Shevchenko knows deep down that she is the toughest challenge for Nunes in the UFC, which is why she believes it’s inevitable that they will cross paths again.
“Our fate between me and Amanda, it’s not something that you want, it’s not something that she wants or that I want. It’s past that point already. It’s going to happen,” Shevchenko stated. “It’s going to happen one day.
“I don’t know when but it’s already out of anything that a person can wish for. When it’s ready, I will be ready as well.”
More than anything else, Shevchenko is just ready to defend her title this weekend and then hopefully taking on the next best challenger at 125 pounds before the year is finished.
After a tumultuous 2018 that saw her fight once and then wait 10 months before competing again, Shevchenko wants to stay as busy as possible as flyweight champion.
“Let’s see how everything plays out. Because after the fight with Jessica Eye, I was expecting may be three or four months with just rest and training but then I had the opportunity when the UFC offered me the fight first in July and then in Uruguay and I accepted,” Shevchenko explained. “So let’s see how everything turns out.
“But I definitely would like to fight at least one more time before the end of the year.”