There was a time when Amanda Nunes would have wanted to complete her trilogy with Valentina Shevchenko. After she dethroned Julianna Peña at UFC 277 this past July, the ‘Lioness’ addressed some of the options for her next fight, and Shevchenko was among them.
“Good [idea],” said Nunes at the UFC 277 post-fight press conference. “She is a champion, too. That would be awesome.”
Nunes and Shevchenko have fought twice, with the two-division UFC champion getting decision wins against the ‘Bullet’ at UFC 196 and UFC 215, respectively. The pair went on to run roughshod over their divisions, with Nunes and Shevchenko dominating each and every challenger ahead of them.
As they came closer to ‘clearing out the division’ territory, a potential trilogy was considered. The selling point? It was champ vs. champ, one of few that have happened in the UFC.
Amanda Nunes: The ship has sailed on trilogy with Valentina Shevchenko
A year after expressing interest in that champ vs. champ fight with Shevchenko, it was gone for Nunes. This past March, Alexa Grasso dethroned the then-UFC flyweight champion at UFC 285 via fourth-round submission. With her status as champion gone, so was the interest in a trilogy, as the Brazilian recently reversed course on revisiting Shevchenko.
“I don’t know,” said Nunes at the UFC 289 media day. “I think I have a lot of noise at 135 right now, and I don’t think the UFC is going to stop and then go back with the Valentina thing. That don’t sell nothing.”
Though most were surprised to see Shevchenko dethroned, Nunes was not, especially since Grasso exploited the same holes she saw in her past two fights with the Kyrgyzstani.
“I was not surprised,” said Nunes. “I fought Valentina when she was in her prime, and we were both growing. In our last fight, we were both growing as fighters. Valentina has a lot of holes that I can see. I wasn’t able to do it back then, but I see how Alexa Grasso would be able to finish her.”
An immediate rematch with Grasso and Shevchenko is reportedly on tap for an upcoming pay-per-view event, per UFC president Dana White.
Another trilogy has Amanda Nunes‘ interest
While on the topic of trilogies, Amanda Nunes said there was one she would consider should she get past Irene Aldana at UFC 289 this Saturday. Originally scheduled for a third (and potentially) final fight with Julianna Peña, the ‘Lioness’ is still interested in closing the ‘Venezuelan Vixen’ chapter of her UFC career.
“I’ll fight her again after this,” said Nunes. “No problem at all. She makes me better. This is MMA. If she sticks with her style, I’m sorry, you’re going to be gone soon. I’m evolving all the time. I can strike with both stances. I can wrestle you. My wrestling is better than yours. My ground is better than yours. If you attack anything, I can defend. I’m stronger. So I’m better than you everywhere. You’re gone.”
Peña was forced to withdraw from UFC 289 after suffering a rib injury. No word yet on when the former UFC champion expects to return.
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