Valentina Shevchenko says ‘business’ with Amanda Nunes — and Joanna Jędrzejczyk — is not over

Number-one ranked bantamweight Valentina Shevchenko makes her flyweight debut this weekend at UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Anders in Belem, Brazil. Welcoming her to…

By: Tim Bissell | 6 years ago
Valentina Shevchenko says ‘business’ with Amanda Nunes — and Joanna Jędrzejczyk — is not over
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

Number-one ranked bantamweight Valentina Shevchenko makes her flyweight debut this weekend at UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Anders in Belem, Brazil. Welcoming her to the UFC’s newest division is the unheralded, but potentially dangerous, Priscila Cachoeira.

All of Shevchenko’s previous UFC fights have come at bantamweight’s 135lb limit. These contests include two fights versus that division’s reigning champ Amanda Nunes.

Shevchenko, who stated that she didn’t cut any weight to make 135lbs, told Bloody Elbow that she is looking forward to competing with women who are a similar size to her. And ‘Bullet’ believes that against flyweights she’ll have license to show new levels to her game.

“[At flyweight] I feel very strong and I feel one hundred percent prepared,” she said. “I hope to show skills that I have, that I could not show at 135lbs. Because when you are fighting the bigger opponents, you are always thinking whether or not to show certain dangerous techniques — because they can be dangerous for you. This time, against Priscila, I want to show more of those skills that I have in my arsenal.”

Shevchenko said her primary goal right now is to win the UFC’s flyweight championship, which is currently held by TUF winner Nicco Montano. However, the Kyrgyz-Peruvian fighter refused to rule out a return to bantamweight to settle a score with Nunes.

“For now, I am really focused on 125. This is the weight class I want to spend more time in,” clarified Shevchenko. “But I never said that I would never fight in different weight classes again, because I still think my business with Amanda is unfinished and I want to have my rematch. Especially after this last fight; because I didn’t lose it. And I hope to have that rematch after having a few fights at 125.”

Though Shevchenko said she is focused on this weekend’s opponent; Priscila Cachoeira, she did entertain the idea of another future match-up, one with another fighter she has faced off with in the past.

Ahead of her UFC 217 title defeat to Rose Namajunas, rumour was rife that Joanna Jedrzejczyk — a long sufferer of brutal weight cuts to 115lbs — would be moving up to contest for the UFC flyweight crown. Had Jędrzejczyk defended her title and then moved up in weight, the smart money was on an eventual match-up with Shevchenko.

Talk of a Shevchenko vs. Jędrzejczyk match-up reached fever pitch in the day leading up to UFC 213. At that event Shevchenko was lined up to face Nunes for her bantamweight belt, but the champ fell out of the booking due to a medical issue.

In response to Nunes’ withdrawal Jędrzejczyk offered to fill in and fight Shevchenko. On social media Joanna then-Champion and Bullet went back and forth, seemingly agreeing to the bout, but it would not materialize in time.

The reason for Jędrzejczyk’s eagerness to face Shevchenko, is identical to Shechvenko’s own desire to hunt down Nunes; revenge. During their lofty Muay Thai careers Shevchenko and Jędrzejczyk fought three times, with ‘Bullet’ winning each bout.

Though she doesn’t doubt her former foe’s desire to avenge those losses, Shevchenko is unsure about whether that rematch will happen any time soon. “Joanna, I think she is more busy thinking about her rematch with Rose, because that’s more important for her — I think. Let’s see what will happen after her fight because things change very quickly.”

When pressed on whether she would welcome a fight with a woman she beat twice inside the ring, Shevchenko was at first coy, at first. “It can be like this,” she said before adding, “Our history, me and Joanna, is in Muay Thai. Why not start our history in MMA, too?”

But today potential bouts with Jędrzejczyk or Nunes are firmly at the back of Shevchenko’s mind. She was emphatic in stating she’s not looking past Cachoeira and that her main goal was to fight well this Saturday in Belem.

“I want to perform as good as I can,” she said. “I want to show a very good fight and, this time, I don’t want to leave it to the judges. No way! I want to start strong from the beginning and go to the very very end and I will not wait for anything. I will just go in and fight.”

Valentina Shevchenko vs. Priscila Cachoeira takes place on the main card of UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Anders. The main card airs on Fox Sports 1, beginning at 10pm ET.

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About the author
Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

Tim is also BE's lead (only) sumo reporter. He blogs about that sport here and on his own substack, Sumo Stomp!

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