UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko is one of the most dominant forces in combat sports today. But the 32-year-old from Kyrgyzstan is so destructive in her 125-pound division that it’s been challenging for matchmakers to consistently find her worthy opponents.
Shevchenko is 4-0 in the women’s flyweight division. She’s its longest reigning champion ever, and it doesn’t appear like her stranglehold on the division will be in danger anytime soon.
Still, Shevchenko revealed to Heavy this week that she remains laser-focused on beating her next opponent, Jennifer Maia, in the co-main event of UFC 255 on Saturday night at UFC APEX in Las Vegas.
“You know for every one of my fights I prepare everything,” Shevchenko said.
But Shevchenko also revealed she was open to signing up for future superfights against women’s bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes and women’s strawweight champion Weili Zhang, too.
“When there is only one fight that makes sense for everyone, we are going to do it,” Shevchenko said.
ALL the latest UFC news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on UFC newsletter here!
Shevchenko Remains Focused on Present
While Shevchenko said she wasn’t spending most of her fight week thinking about anything other than her opponent at UFC 255, the UFC’s 125-pound queen also said she’s about making the biggest and best fights happen.
“I’m not discarding any opportunity,” Shevchenko said. “You never know what’s going to happen in the future.”
Shevchenko believes either or both of those superfights (against Nunes or Zhang) could happen in the future.
Shevchenko already lost twice to Nunes. She lost via unanimous decision in what was just Shevchenko’s second UFC fight, and again via split decision the following year in a contest that could have been scored either way.
In both those fights, of course, Shevchenko was moving up out of her natural weight class.
Might the UFC move Zhang up the same way to face Shevchenko? Or will a third Nunes fight come down the line?
“What’s the offer they are going to make?” Shevchenko said with a laugh. “But for now, what I think about is to defend my belt as much time as I can, and to keep it, to build everything, to build my record, to build my history, to build my everything.”
At the same time, with all three women’s champions looking so dominant over their divisions, and all three ranked at the top of the UFC’s women’s pound-for-pound list, Shevchenko knows eventually those fights could be made.
“Yeah, I think when it’s going to be logical…when it’s going to be the fight, it is around one or the other one, it is going to be done,” Shevchenko said.
And when that happens?
“It’s going to be great,” Shevchenko said. “When it’s going to be there… When there is only one fight that makes sense for everyone, we are going to do it.”
Follow the Heavy on UFC Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Shevchenko on Pound-for-Pound Debate
Shevchenko is currently ranked No. 3 on the UFC’s women’s pound-for-pound list behind No. 1-ranked Nunes, and No.-2 ranked Zhang.
While Shevchenko was leapfrogged by Zhang earlier this year without losing a fight, or even being challenged all that much either, Shevchenko said she wasn’t the type to complain about things like pound-for-pound rankings via social media.
“Well, I really don’t care about this number…I’m not the kind of person who will go onto social media to say, ‘Oh, what is that? Why is this happening?'” Shevchenko said.
Instead, Shevchenko keeps her mind focused on defending her UFC title.
“I just do my job,” Shevchenko said. “They want me to win the fight. I do it. They want me to KO people. I do it. So this is the most important thing.”
YouTube: Real Talk with Kelsey and Rachel