UFC 231: Valentina Shevchenko Discusses Hopes For Championship Reign, Sidestepping Fight With Sister Antonina
Now that Valentina Shevchenko is holding the UFC's flyweight title, she intends to have a lengthy reign as champ, or for as long as it takes for her sister to secure the number one contender spot...
Now that Valentina Shevchenko is holding the UFC’s flyweight title, she intends to have a lengthy reign as champ, or for as long as it takes for her sister to secure the number one contender spot…
Shevchenko laid claim to the 125 title on Saturday night, by outscoring former strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231 for the decision victory. With the win, Shevchenko moved her UFC record to 5-2, with her losses coming against reigning bantamweight champ, Amanda Nunes.
Well, following the memorable bout, Shevchenko was understandably asked about her future. In addition, Valentina was asked about how she intends to avoid a possible showdown with her older sister Antonina, who holds a 7-0 record and recently defeated Ji Yeon Kim in her official, UFC debut.
Here is some of what the new champ had to say (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“I don’t care who will be my next opponent. I’m ready for anyone, and this is what I want to do — to defend the belt as much as I can,” Shevchenko said. “I’m healthy now. I didn’t get any hard injuries and [I want to] just straight go to the busy work again, because I don’t like to spend the time and say, ‘Okay, I’m champion and I keep my belt for a year doing nothing, just saying hello to the media and showing the belt.’ No, I want action. For me, that’s more important.”
“…My thoughts on it, I will keep this belt [while] she goes all the way to the No. 1 contender, and then I will see what I’m going to do,” Shevchenko added while referring to her sister Antonina. “Because I still have unfinished business with my opponent at bantamweight (UFC champion Amanda Nunes). I know exactly I never lost that fight, and she knows that she was not the winner of that fight. And we’ll see, we’ll see. Just waiting for my sister, when she climbs up to No. 1.”
Sounds like a plan right? Although, other contenders in the flyweight division likely have a very different take on what’s going to unfold in the coming months…
In terms of Shevchenko’s first title defense, it will be interesting to see who the UFC calls for it. Jessica Eye defeated Katlyn Chookagian by split decision to record her third straight win. So the former bantamweight contender could be a candidate. Chookagian was ranked #3 prior to this weekend’s action.
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It’s also not clear yet what’s next for Nicco Montano, who ran into medical issues this past September, while cutting weight for a bout with Valentina, and was forced out of the contest. Montano was stripped of the belt afterward.