Jessica Andrade thinks her UFC 261 opponent Valentina Shevchenko is currently the best pound-for-pound fighter in the promotion.
Andrade won her flyweight debut against Katlyn Chookagian last October by first-round TKO, and will now attempt to dethrone the champion in the first of three title fights this weekend at UFC 261.
Shevchenko is unbeaten in her last six fights and has only lost to two-weight champion Amanda Nunes during her UFC stint. Talking to MMA Fighting, Andrade said Shevchenko deserves the pound-for-pound number one spot.
“Valentina is the best in the UFC,” Andrade said. “I’ve always wanted to fight her because I always want to fight the best. I’ve fought a lot of good girls and I think Valentina is one level above any other. Actually, her fight with Amanda [Nunes], I’m one of those that think [judges] could have given it to Valentina because she was better.
“Even though Amanda has two belts, Valentina fights all the time and always puts on great fights and the same pace from start to finish. Amanda doesn’t fight that often. She owns two belts but doesn’t fight all the time, so I think Valentina has more experience in the octagon. I think Valentina is the best pound-for-pound in the UFC.”
Andrade went on to explain the difficulty of training to fight Shevchenko due to the speed she possesses. Despite this, Andrade is confident she can impose her power to cause ‘Bullet’ some problems in the cage.
“I’ll tell you this, training for this girl is quite complicated, huh?” Andrade said. “My God, she’s so fast. I was watching her fights and, wow, I’ll be honest with you, I do believe I’ll be able to go in there and impose my strategy really well, but I think she will hit me with some strikes because she’s really fast. I won’t say I’ll be able to avoid all of her attacks. I can dodge well but this woman is bizarre.”
UFC 261 takes place on Saturday, April 24th, at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. A welterweight title fight between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal will headline the card.
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