Valentina Shevchenko successfully defended the women’s flyweight championship for the fourth time against Jennifer Maia this past weekend at UFC 255. Another solid performance from the champion left many wondering who would be next for Shevchenko, and luckily, UFC President Dana White has an idea in mind.
During his post-fight press conference, White brought up the possibility of a fight between Shevchenko and current No. 1 contender, Jessica Andrade. The former women’s strawweight champion made her debut in the flyweight division with a technical knockout over Katlyn Chookagian at UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. The Korean Zombie (aka: UFC Fight Island 6) in October.
Although she only has one win in the division, Andrade emerged as the name with a very real possibility of challenging for the title against Shevchenko — and it sounds like White agrees, especially after her fight against Chookagian.
“Andrade is a very, very good fight for her,” White said. “That’s a tough fight. If you’re gonna go out and be safe the first couple of rounds against somebody like Jennifer, what are you going to do against Andrade? Andrade is gonna bring her a lot of things she’s never seen before. Not to mention the power Andrade has.
“She just knocked a girl out — a really good girl. Like the number two girl in the world with a body shot. She’s a real problem for Shevchenko that she’s gonna have to figure out, and if she does, I think the fight that makes more sense is, [Weili] Zhang will fight here soon, and after Weili fights, maybe you do those two”
A super fight between Shevchenko and women’s strawweight champion has been teased before, but White is adamant that Andrade should be considered first before that even happens.
“I think that Andrade-Shevchenko is a very fun fight,” White said. “The thing I love about that fight too is that Shevchenko is at a place in her career now where she needs an opponent that people think actually has a chance at beating her and I think we all know that Andrade does.”
Andrade has spoken about her title aspirations at flyweight, admitting that she is willing to fight a few more times before meeting Shevchenko, so this recent push by White sounds like good news. Also, Shevchenko mentioned Andrade as a potential opponent for her next title defense in her own post-fight interview, which could be enough to bolster the position Andrade finds herself in.