The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women's Bantamweight division keeps getting better and Russian striker Valentina Shevchenko stands to benefit the most. As one of the best standup artists in the 135-pound class today, "The Bullet" has arguably earned No. 1 contender rights in the absence of former divisional queen Ronda Rousey.
As a result of Shevchenko's recent five-round destruction of former champion Holly Holm, who defeated Rousey via second-round knockout back at UFC 193, the 28-year-old Muay Thai expert has landed a new seven-fight contract with UFC, according to a report by MMA Fighting. Shevchenko has put together a 2-1 record since making her promotional debut at UFC on FOX 17 in a short-notice bout with former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman, only losing to current champion Amanda Nunes via decision back at UFC 196.
With a new contract in place, Shevchenko can begin her assault on the division's elite. Her impressive showing opposite Holm this past July at UFC on FOX 20 should be enough to catapult Shevchenko into a title rematch opposite Nunes later this year. The up-and-coming championship contender recently took to Twitter to call out Nunes, who defeated Miesha Tate via first-round submission at UFC 200 to earn the 135-pound strap:
At just 28 years of age, Shevchenko stands to improve with time. Her striking arsenal is already good enough to cause trouble for veterans like Holm and Kaufman, but the rest of her game needs to follow suit if she wants to claim UFC gold in the near future.