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UFC champ Valentina Shevchenko passes on celebrity boxing fad — ‘It’s a little bit of a downgrade’

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UFC 255: Figueiredo v Perez Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

Reigning UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko believes mixed martial arts (MMA) is superior to boxing because it requires a fighter to master multiple disciplines. That’s why “Bullet” won’t be jumping on the “Talky MMA vet with average following fights D-List celebrity” trend, because a transition to boxing would be considered a downgrade.

Not only in skill, but perhaps also in pay — at least for women — which is why boxing champions like Claressa Shields and Amanda Serrano have both migrated to MMA.

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CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLE DIP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Phoenix, Ariz., on Sat., May 7, 2022, with a blockbuster championship doubleheader. Headlining the pay-per-view (PPV) event will be Lightweight champion, Charles Oliveira, seeking to defend his title against No. 1-ranked contender, Justin Gaethje. In UFC 274’s co-main event, women’s Strawweight champion, Rose Namajunas, looks to avenge her loss against No. 2-seeded, Carla Esparza. And top-ranked Lightweight contenders collide when Michael Chandler (No. 5) locks horns with Tony Ferguson (No. 7) in a fan-friendly 155-pound clash for the ages.

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“I have like 12 professional boxing fights and I did it,” Shevchenko told The MMA Hour. “I know exactly what it feels [like]. For me being UFC champion, fighting in mixed martial arts, the universal style, when the technique is everything, it’s like you actually know all kinds of martial arts. You are a perfect boxer, you are a perfect Muay Thai fighter, kickboxer, you are a perfect grappler, wrestler. You are everything. Everything in martial arts. It’s kind of like going to boxing ... you can, why not, but for me it’s a little bit of a downgrade.”

It may be a downgrade for Shevchenko, but it’s certainly proved to be an upgrade for aging MMA fighters like Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort, who caught their second win in the “sweet science.”

Shevchenko (21-3) has captured seven straight fights since dropping down to the 125-pound weight class, four of which have ended by knockout or submission. Her next title defense comes against veteran bruiser Lauren Murphy in the UFC 266 co-main event later this month in Las Vegas (more on that event here).