Count UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko as one MMA fighters with no desire to cross over for a big payday in boxing.
Ever since Conor McGregor booked a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather in 2017, there have been scores of fighters seeking to do the same thing. For some, it’s just about the competition. For others, it’s all about the money. But over the past six months, UFC veterans such as Anderson Silva, Vitor Belfort, Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren have all taken professional boxing matches.
Numerous others have shown interest in boxing, but Shevchenko explains she’s already been there and done that and doesn’t have a desire to do it again.
“I don’t see a reason why I have to do it,” Shevchenko said during an appearance on The MMA Hour. “I have like 12 professional boxing fights and I did it. I know exactly what it feels [like].”
High-profile bouts involving MMA fighters have most recently swirled around matchups against Jake Paul, but a recent Triller Fight Club card was headlined by Belfort taking on Evander Holyfield, who was 58 years old and fighting for the first time in more than a decade.
There haven’t been any crossover women’s fights, which would seemingly open the door for a legitimate striker like Shevchenko to test the waters. She’s just not interested. Shevchenko believes she’s exhibiting the best of martial arts by competing in the UFC right now.
Returning to boxing would mean Shevchenko has to give up more of her weapons to only throw hands in a fight and that doesn’t really appeal to her much.
“For me being UFC champion, fighting in mixed martial arts, the universal style, when the technique is everything,” she said. “It’s like you actually know all kinds of martial arts. You are a perfect boxer, you are a perfect muay Thai fighter, kickboxer, you are a perfect grappler, wrestler. You are everything. Everything in martial arts.
“It’s kind of like going to boxing, you can, why not but for me it’s a little bit of a downgrade.”
As for her current fighting career, Shevchenko will return to action next weekend at UFC 266 when she clashes with Lauren Murphy with the flyweight belt going up for grabs as she seeks her sixth consecutive title defense.