Valentina Shevchenko isn’t impressed by those negatively speaking up after her most recent title defense.
At UFC 275 last month (June 12, 2022), Shevchenko continued her reign of terror over the Flyweight division, but it didn’t come without a scare. Dana White’s Contender Series alum, Taila Santos, provided “The Bullet” with her toughest test in the division yet, utilizing her strong wrestling and Muay Thai skills to score big in the early rounds of their five-round contest.
Ultimately, Shevchenko retained via split decision (watch highlights) and many believe it showed the champion to be beatable after such a long and flawless stretch of dominance.
“The trash talkers like Casey [O’Neil] and Maycee Barber, don’t give food for them, just let them speak something bad about someone because I think this is their energy,” Shevchenko said on The MMA Hour. “If they don’t talk something bad or something ugly, they feel sad in life. So this is why I feel they felt they had to say something. For example, Maycee just came back from her injury, Casey she doesn’t have much to do just to speak because she’s injured.
“I think it’s the same that it was before,” she continued. “They can think whatever they want, but it’s one thing to pretend that they know and another thing to be inside of the octagon and try it and do it and make it [real]. Yes, they can work on their things, but it will never work because every time I will find the way to win and continue winning, and defend my flyweight [title]. Because you see it, but before you feel it, you never know it.”
Although the performance was one of the most competitive of her legendary career, Shevchenko is completely satisfied with showing she’s able to get through such adversities. While there’s been talk of returning to her old stomping grounds at 135 pounds to vie for the title there, the 34-year-old expects her next fight to be another defense — especially with all the new talent emerging.
“It was a good fight. Taila, she’s a good opponent, strong opponent,” Shevchenko said. “I’m glad it was a challenging fight, I’m glad that I could prove that no matter what I can overcome any kind of situation. It’s not only about technique, it’s about mental game, it’s about toughness. No matter what and how, you still have to find a way to win the fight. This is my mindset and I’m very glad I could show that.”