While Valentina Shevchenko’s one sided win over Liz Carmouche isn’t going to be remembered as an exciting affair (watch the highlights here), it did once again underscore just how much better the Kyrgyzstani women’s flyweight champion is than the other competitors in her division. Carmouche was ranked number three and didn’t even come close to winning a round against her. So who is next for “Bullet”?
As usual, when we run out of possibilities in a champ’s given weightclass we tend to look upwards. The obvious question is whether Shevchenko is interested in a third fight with 135 and 145 pound champ Amanda Nunes. The two have already fought twice before, with Valentina losing a razor thin split decision the last time they competed in 2017.
“I see Amanda maybe, but not next, and not right now,” Shevchenko said when asked on the ESPN+ post-fight show about a third fight, adding with a laugh “Maybe when my sister [fellow flyweight Antonina] is on top as the No. 1 contender, I’ll say ‘You fight for the title, and I’ll go.’”
Shevchenko made it clear that she wanted to establish a legacy at women’s flyweight rather than jump across weight classes.
“This is my goal for now,” she said. “I was fighting for so long in different weight classes, and every time against bigger opponent, heavier, taller. It makes all the difference. Now finally I have the opportunity to fight against the same sized opponent. To show everything that I have, and I just want to use it, to show all my skills.”
As for who she wanted next, Valentina responded “I can’t just say one name. I want them all!”
“I’m open for anyone. There is nobody that UFC call me and say ‘Valentina, you ready to fight this person’ and I will say ‘Mmmm, maybe.’ No, it’s not working with me like this. I will say yes.”
At the post fight press conference she expanded on that.
”It’s going to be every time someone who is in the line,” she said. “For example, we have a lot of girls at the top of the ranking. Liz, she was number three. And I think there is Katlyn Chookagian and Jennifer Maia, she’s still there in the top. So there’s gonna be a lot of options for me to choose.”