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Valentina Shevchenko unhappy with 2022 inactivity: ‘What’s happening with you girls - Why so quiet?’

The reigning women’s flyweight champion is tired of waiting for her next title defense, but has been told it’s been hard to find an opponent.

UFC 275: Shevchenko v Santos Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

It was an uncharacteristically quiet year for UFC women’s Flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko, in 2022. The Kyrgyzstani fighter has fought twice a year like clockwork since 2015, amassing an impressive seven title defenses.

But, last year “Bullet” only got one fight in: a controversial split decision win over Taila Santos in June.

An immediate rematch seemed like the obvious choice for an end-of-year fight, but Santos suffered a broken orbital in their war after a clash of heads. What’s kind of crazy is that Santos will be healed and back in the cage before Shevchenko, as UFC is booking the Brazilian fighter for a February return against Erin Blanchfield (details here).

In a new interview with UFC.com, Shevchenko expressed her unhappiness with the wait.

“I wanted to fight in December, but it’s my understanding that it was hard to find an opponent,” Shevchenko said. “I’m just here, training all the time, almost every day, waiting for the call. I’ve been ready since I don’t know, since September? If they call me tomorrow, I’m ready tomorrow.

“I want to fight frequently, but I realize this is a problem for the UFC to find opponents in order for me to fight frequently,” she continued. “My understanding is that everyone would love to fight for a title, so what’s happening with you girls? Why so quiet?”

Santos certainly wasn’t quiet about a rematch, but in mid-December 2022, Shevchenko seemed to turn down that option, telling Cageside Press that Santos, “has to build up a little bit her name again, because revenge doesn’t work like that.”

Other top contenders include Alexa Grasso and Manon Fiorot, but Fiorot is out with an injury following her UFC 280 win over Katlyn Chookagian.

“If she can’t fight, then Alexa, let’s go!” Shevchenko declared. “It’s time ... The champion is ready, so just bring everyone who is ready. March sounds like very good timing. It’s already January and with all the holidays and New Year, it’s going to run so quickly. March is good timing; it’s kind of perfect. And I would say that I’m open to all opportunities. I like the idea of all these potential challengers.”

Unfortunately, “all opportunities” doesn’t seem to include the champions in the surrounding women’s Strawweight and Bantamweight divisions. “Bullet” said she wants her next fight to go down at women’s Flyweight, and then we can talk about champion vs. champion “super” fights.

“After this break, I would like to defend my belt once more for the next one,” she said. “But yes, I’m definitely ready for Amanda and Weili. Weili did a very good fight her last fight, she got stronger, and it’s very interesting to watch her fight. I’m definitely open to fight any of these girls.”

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