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UFC champ Valentina Shevchenko won’t ‘downgrade’ to boxing: I don’t see a reason to do it

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Unlike many of her peers in the UFC, flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko isn’t interested in crossing over to boxing.

Today’s trend in combat sports and prizefighting has been about MMA fighters crossing over to boxing. Some of them failed miserably, while others, like Anderson Silva, are doing well in what seems to be a career resurgence.

The potential payday in a high-profile boxing match is what draws many of these fighters in. But a few others like UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko aren’t as interested in the idea and prefer the full package that mixed martial arts offers.

“I don’t see reason why I have to do it. I have, like, 12 professional boxing fights and I did it. I know exactly what it feels,” Shevchenko told Ariel Helwani in a recent episode of The MMA Hour.

“For me, being UFC champion, fighting in mixed martial arts, universal style, when the technique is everything, it’s like, you actually know all kind of martial arts. You are perfect boxer, you are perfect Muay Thai fighter, Taekwondo, you are perfect grappler, wrestler… you are everything. Everything in martial arts.

“Going to boxing, it’s kind of, like, ‘You can! Why not?’ But for me, it’s a little bit downgrade.”

While most MMA fighter transition to boxing in hopes of a better payday, the state of pay in women’s boxing and women’s mixed martial arts is quite the opposite. Decorated boxing champions like Claressa Shields and Holly Holm have switched over to MMA, with the former repeatedly chastising the “sexist” sport for not paying female boxers enough.

Shevchenko will defend the women’s 125-pound title for the sixth time against Lauren Murphy at UFC 266 on September 25th.