After pulling off a big upset win in the flyweight division, Jennifer Maia is being rewarded with a UFC title opportunity. Following her first-round submission victory over Joanne Calderwood, who was slated to fight champion Valentina Shevchenko before accepting the fight against Maia, the former Invicta FC flyweight champion got some praise from UFC President Dana White.
Speaking to the media following UFC Vegas 5, White confirmed that Maia is next in line for the flyweight title fight against Shevchenko. After the champion took to Twitter to congratulate and call out Maia, White agreed and said she is next in line an d paid respects to Calderwood for taking a short-notice fight when she was already in line for a title shot.
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) August 2, 2020
“Yeah, that is the fight. Listen, I have a lot of respect for Jojo [Calderwood], she’s been working hard, taking her career very serious and has been back on track since she moved to Vegas. Jennifer [Maia] looked damn good tonight, so yeah, it makes sense for her and Valentina to fight.”
When asked about a potential date for the fight, White said he didn’t have one in mind but would like to see the two women meet “ASAP” for the flyweight title. After her win over Calderwood, Maia also spoke to the media and said she believes she was underestimated going into the fight.
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) August 3, 2020
“I think Jojo underestimated me a little bit, she had the fight for the title then she got a short-notice in two weeks. I think she did underestimate me a little bit but I think Valentina [Shevchenko] is a smarter fighter, she’s the champion, and I think she’s going to study me very well. I don’t think she’s going to underestimate me.”
The emergence of Maia in the flyweight division brings yet another contender in a division that is awaiting for a true challenge for Shevchenko who has been the reigning champion since she won the belt when the division began. With Jennifer Maia, and other new names like Cynthia Calvillo and a reported move from former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade, the flyweight division is slowly picking up note-worthy talent to become possible contenders.