Once again, Valentina “Bullet” Shevchenko showed the world why she is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. The women’s flyweight champion dominated #1 contender Katlyn Chookagian at UFC 247, ultimately finishing the “Blonde Fighter” in the third round by strikes. By winning her third title defense, Shevchenko has extended her professional MMA record to 19-3.
During the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Bullet told the UFC color commentator that she is open to any fight and that there are a lot of great competitors in the division. So, let’s take a look at some potential opponents for Bullet at flyweight, and one other fight that could be a blockbuster trilogy match.
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Number Three Ranked Women’s Flyweight Joanne Calderwood
The #3 ranked women’s flyweight Joanne Calderwood may be getting the call from the UFC to be Shevchenko’s next opponent. Since moving back up to flyweight, Calderwood has gone 3-1, including a split-decision win in her last fight over Andrea Lee at UFC 242.
From a rankings standpoint, Calderwood is the highest-ranked fighter in the division on a winning streak, and she hasn’t faced Bullet before. She is also a fan favorite and isn’t currently booked to fight anyone else.
Number Seven Ranked Women’s Flyweight Lauren Murphy
During the preliminary card of UFC 247, Lauren Murphy took on #8 ranked Andrea Lee and won by split decision. After her gritty performance, she called out #5 Roxanne Modafferi, but the UFC may decide to take a different route.
It’s highly possible that the UFC intentionally booked the fight between Murphy and Lee for timing reasons. Both Murphy and Shevchenko are on the same timeline, and barring any injuries, could be scheduled to fight each other in the summer.
Murphy is now riding a two-fight win streak, and because there’s no definite contender in the women’s flyweight division, that may be enough to grant her a title fight against Bullet.
UFC Women’s Bantamweight and Featherweight Champion Amanda Nunes
Arguably the most exciting and fascinating women’s MMA bout the promotion can put on is UFC Women’s Bantamweight and Featherweight Champion Amanda Nunes against Shevchenko. The two women have fought twice, and Nunes has gotten her hand raised both times. However, their second fight, which took place at UFC 216 in September 2017, had a highly debatable outcome. Nunes took home a victory via split decision, but many fans and analysts scored the fight for Bullet.
Nunes is viewed by many as the greatest female fighter of all time, and she is currently ranked as the #1 women’s pound-for-pound fighter. Shevchenko is ranked as #2. And because of the controversial decision win for Nunes in their second bout, a trilogy fight is still highly marketable for the UFC.
It would be a fantastic opportunity for fans around the world to watch the two top women compete again.