Much like her male counterpart, female flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko does not want to sit around for too long after UFC 255 before her next title defense. Although she will not have as quick a turnaround as Deiveson Figueiredo, ‘Bullet’ still intends to fight again sooner rather than later, and already has a suitable challenger in mind.
After former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade debuted in the division with a TKO victory over top contender Katlyn Chookagian, Shevchenko believes it would make sense to take on the Brazilian next. Even though Valentina believes a title eliminator between ‘Bate Estaca’ and Lauren Murphy would make the most sense, Shevchenko does not want to wait that much for the title picture to become so clear.
“I’ll take any opponent they put in front of me.” Valentina told Combate. “But I think that the fairest thing would be to put Jessica Andrade and Lauren Murphy to face each other, but I don’t want to wait that long. That fight would be in a few months, then I would have to wait to face the winner a few more months after that. I don’t intend to wait too long, so why not fight Jessica? Fine by me.”
After a unanimous decision win against Jennifer Maia at UFC 255, Valentina explained some of the choices she made in order to secure the win and her title during the fight. To the surprise of many fans, the decision to outgrapple a Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt came to her during the contest.
“She didn’t surprise me. I expected a tough fight. I didn’t expect it to be an easy fight, I’m not one to believe only in the numbers and put the rest of the data aside. I study my opponents and I watch their fights. I knew she was going to be tough. By analyzing Jennifer’s body, I knew she wasn’t going to be heavy, but dense.”
“Some people are smoother, others are denser. Jennifer is hard to break.” Valentina continued. “I have a good build and so does Jennifer. Fortunately, I was prepared for a hard fight. My plan was to walk out with the victory, I train for everything and let my body choose which technique to use. It seems my body chose to grapple.”
The win over Maia put Shevchenko (20-3) on a six-fight winning streak, with victories over Priscila Cachoeira, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Jessica Eye, Katlyn Chookagian and Liz Carmouche. The 32-year-old’s last loss happened in September 2017, when she dropped a split decision to bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes.