Valentina Shevchenko’s dreams of becoming a champion at UFC 228 in Dallas, Texas, this past weekend were shattered on Friday when we learned that her opponent Nicco Montano had been hospitalized because of a bad weight cut. Their fight was canceled, Montano was stripped of the belt, and UFC threw some money Shevchenko’s way. That, and a promise she’d fight for the vacant flyweight title soon against an opponent to be determined.
Montano has given her side of the story and went so far as to call Shevchenko out for being disrespectful about the whole situation. Now, Shevchenko has taken to The MMA Hour to respond and share her thoughts on what happened.
”She had enough time to prepare for the fight,” Shevchenko told Luke Thomas. “Only she was the one, the one who was responsible for the weight cut was she. She knows here body, how it reacts. And she had to be able to make it earlier, to start her weight cut. Not come into fight week weighing 20 pounds over. It’s crazy. Even for the boys, they’re cutting much more than the girls, it’s crazy to come 20 pounds over for fight week.”
”You have to start your diet earlier, you be professional,” she continued. “You have to be responsible about what you have in your hands. But this is total irresponsibility. Totally unprofessional things from her. And now complaining about everything, making statements like everyone is at fault. She gets what she deserves, in fact.”
Shevchenko admitted she was disappointed with the situation, but isn’t letting it get her down.
”I’m more excited to find out the name for my next opponent,” she said. And she’s ready to go as soon as possible.
”For me, the sooner the better,” Shevchenko said. “I’m a fighter, my initial purpose is to fight. Of course everything is important, to answer the media, to speak, everything we do before the fight. But what is our initial purpose? It’s to fight. And of course I want to fight sooner. I’m ready to fight right now. I’m in shape, I’m still motivated, I didn’t lose nothing that I didn’t have a few days ago.”
”So this is what I know the UFC knows, maybe in a few days hopefully they’ll come back with some exact dates and some names. So I’ll just wait. I know they want to do it before the end of the year. But maybe, I dunno, November? For me it would be good right tomorrow. But let’s wait to see what’s on their minds.”
And while the UFC hasn’t brought any names to her, a lot of fans are wondering if maybe former strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk may move up in weight for the opportunity of fighting for the flyweight title. Thomas asked Valentina if she was interested in the fight and Valentina confirmed that she was.
”Yes why not?” Shevchenko said. “Because like my response every time, we have our history with Joanna [in kickboxing], and now we have an opportunity to make our history in MMA under UFC rules. So why not?
Shevchenko and Jedrzejczyk have fought three times under kickboxing rules between 2006 and 2008, with Shevchenko taking all three wins by decision. Add in the size advantage for Shevchenko, and we’re not surprised she isn’t worried about facing Joanna Champion. In fact, the only thing she sounds worried about is more last minute cancellations like UFC 228.
”It doesn’t matter who, I’m ready for anyone,” Shevchenko said. “And I want to fight someone who wants to fight, who is able to complete and do everything professional. I would be very happy to have more professionals to face me because in this case I won’t be worried about having this problem, having someone pull out at the last minute.”