When news broke on the eve of UFC 213, that UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes was pulling out of her title defense versus Valentina Shevchenko due to medical concerns, the MMA world gave out a familiar collective sigh of disappointment. That same event had already seen the cancellation of a UFC bantamweight championship bout between Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw and the nixing of a scrap between former welterweight champ Robbie Lawler and Donald Cerrone.
With Nunes out, the main event became an interim middleweight title fight between Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker. However, there was a willing replacement waiting in the wings to take on Shevchenko, someone who shares a long history with the Peruvian/Kyrgyz fighter: UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Despite Shevchenko’s willingness, Jedrzejczyk didn’t get the chance to fill in for Nunes that night. However, the theoretical match-up – proposed to be at 125lbs – succeeded in exciting MMA fans. Had the fight been made, it would of been the fourth contest between the two women.
According to NESN Shevchenko and Jedrzejczyk faced each other three times on the Muay Thai circuit, with the first happening some eleven years ago. Shevchenko won on each occasion.
Shevchenko recently spoke with Gino Alva for Spanish speaking outlet MMA.uno. With Alva she discussed the possibility of re-matching Joanna ‘Champion’ inside an eight-sided cage. “I’m not asking for that fight,” clarified Shevchenko. “The fans are asking for that. Joanna and I have and history in Muay Thai. Why don’t begin our history in MMA?”
But, before Shevchenko can rekindle a rivalry with Jedrzejczyk in earnest, she will first get the chance to settle the score with Nunes. The pair, who fought back at UFC 196, are now scheduled to compete in the co-main event of UFC 215.
When asked by MMA.uno if Shevchenko believed Nunes’ excuse for pulling out of their previous match-up (chronic sinusitis) was valid, the title challenger was blunt. “No, I don’t,” she answered. “What happened was that she cut a lot of weight in a very short period and she felt weak,” continued Shevchenko. She even added that she feels, as a result of the incident, “people won’t trust” what Nunes has to say in the future.
Barring any unforeseen incidents, Valentina Shevchenko will take on UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes on September 9th at UFC 215 in Edmonton, Alberta. Headlining the show is record-chasing UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, who defends his belt versus Ray Borg.
Spanish-to-English translations provided by Andrès Lichtveld. MMA.uno.
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