It may have taken five grueling rounds and a few moments in danger, but Valentina Shevchenko got the job done. For the seventh consecutive time, “Bullet” successfully defended the UFC women’s 125-pound title, this time against Taila Santos via split decision.
Normally, Shevchenko would do her trademark victory dance after the Octagon interviews, but this time she didn’t. One reporter took notice and asked her about it during her post-fight scrum, and apparently, there is quite a serious reason behind it.
“Coming into the fight, I was injured. My foot was injured. And all week, fight week, the UFC Performance Institute physical therapist was working on my foot to get it back into the best shape,” she told reporters.
“A few kicks that I (threw) that were super strong, it injured my foot. That’s why I kind of, like… I was willing to dance, but I don’t know. We will have to do x-ray, I hope it’s nothing serious that could delay my return to the Octagon. But this is the reason why I didn’t dance.”
Shevchenko didn’t specify what foot was injured. But she says she never considered pulling out of the fight, even during moments when she was left unable to walk.
“Considering to pull out of the fight, never. Every time when I have something, I try to deal with it first. Actually, I couldn’t walk on my foot when I got this injury, and I couldn’t jump on it,” she said.
“But thankfully to the PTs, they were able to get me back that I kind of, like, felt OK. And definitely, when you’re in the fight with all this adrenaline, you just kick, no matter what. You kick and then you think what’s gonna happen.”
Shevchenko says she will still help her sister Antonina prepare for her July 9th fight against Cortney Casey. After UFC 275, she improved to a record of 23-3.