Esparza sat down with MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn this week and during the interview, she gave her take on Shevchenko fighting at strawweight. Although she hasn’t competed in the weight class before, Shevchenko said during a UFC 275 fan Q&A that “everything is possible.”
And if “Bullet” ultimately decides to try her hand at strawweight, she’ll “put some fear in a lot of strawweights’ hearts,” Esparza said.
“Well, that would be scary,” Esparza said via the outlet. “She is a beast, for sure. I think that she would definitely put some fear in a lot of strawweights’ hearts. I mean, if you look at (Jessica) Andrade and Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), some of the most dominant strawweights in the division, they go up, fight her, and they get destroyed. It’s hard to say what a weight cut would do to her because that’s a little, you know, a bit to go. But yeah, that would be scary.”
Esparza Thinks Shevchenko Is the Greatest Female Fighter Ever
Shevchenko is fresh off her seventh 125-pound title defense. She battled Taila Santos earlier thing month at UFC 275 in Singapore, and although Santos pushed Bullet in more ways than fans are accustomed to seeing, Shevchenko edged the scorecards via split decision.
Esparza praised Santos’ performance, however she still sees Shevchenko as the greatest women’s fighter ever.
“I thought Taila looked really awesome,” Esparza said. “I think she surprised a lot of people with how well she did especially in the first three rounds. I saw there was an accidental headbutt and she lost some vision. Had that not happened, I could see the fight – I mean it was a very close fight, I could have seen it go the other way, but at the end of the day, Valentina got her hand raised.”
“For me, Valentina, I consider her as the GOAT of women’s MMA,” Esparza continued.
Shevchenko Calls Dropping to Strawweight ‘A Serious’ Weight Cut, Also Eyeing Bantamweight
During the fan Q&A earlier this month, Shevchenko spoke about cutting down to strawweight.
“Yeah, it’s gonna be [an] interesting proposal,” Shevchenko said via Sportskeeda.com. “Going to strawweight means you have a serious cut weight, but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Being a professional, you have to consider, if you cut too much weight to strawweight, how are you going to fight at bantamweight?… Everything is possible.”
During the UFC 275 post-fight press conference, Bullet stated that she weighed 130 pounds for her fight with Santos. And with a potential fight looming at bantamweight, she’ll work to put on size if she picks that route.
“Another option is Julianna [Pena] and Amanda [Nunes] at bantamweight, and once it’s going to be more toward finalizing, I will start to work on building my body a little bit heavier – just a little bit so not to lose the speed,” Shevchenko said via MMA Junkie. “It’s a lot of options for me, just to choose which one.”
Pena, the current bantamweight champion, and Nunes will rematch at UFC 277 on July 30.