Liz Carmouche

Liz Carmouche: I’m the one who deserved the Valentina Shevchenko fight”

Liz Carmouche has reestablished herself as a potential contender for the UFC women’s flyweight title after compiling three victories in the UFC’s 125 pound division.

With the victories, Carmouche believes she should have been the one to get the shot at the UFC women’s flyweight title against Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 231 this coming December but unfortunately that fight has already been signed, as Shevchenko will square off against Joanna Jedrzejczyk  for the UFC women’s 125 pound championship at the event.

Yet when you think about it, Carmouche does have a legitimate point for being the most deserving of a chance to fight Shevchenko for the UFC women’s flyweight title.

How?

Well, MMA history tells us that Liz Carmouche is the only woman to ever finish Valentina Shevchenko in her 15 year MMA career, even though it was back in 2010.

“I’m the only one who has ever finished her in MMA,” Carmouche told MMA Fighting. “Not in Muay Thai or kickboxing. I’m talking MMA. So, that would just, you think that would make sense for me to be the one to compete against her.”

Despite knowing the reality of not getting her much desired UFC title shot, Carmouche understands why the fight between Shevchenko and  Jedrzejczyk is happening.

“When I heard it, I was bummed,” Carmouche said. “I understand you always want drama leading up to the fight. You want whatever publicity you can get for it. It’s more appealing for fans, for media for everything. So I understand why everyone wants that.”

Regardless, Carmouche thinks the UFC made the correct choice by stripping the women’s 125 pound belt from Nicco Montano.

Montano originally captured the title via the Ultimate Fighter 26  tournament, but was later stripped of the belt after being hospitalized as a result a horrible weight cut in what was supposed to be a scheduled title fight between her and Shevchenko.

“As a champion, you are supposed to embody professionalism for the entire weight division,” Carmouche said. “And if you can’t make weight, the weight cut shouldn’t begin in the fight week. It shouldn’t happen the day before weigh-ins. You should be leveling off, doing things intelligently your whole fight camp. So if you wait until the end and you do things unprofessionally, there are going to be consequences, putting your body at risk. As a result she wasn’t able to compete, and it’s not the first time she had to bail out of a fight. To me, that’s not what a champion does. I think they made the right call.”

While the decisions of the immediate UFC 125 pound title scene are out of Carmouche’s control, the thought of her making a run at the belt has driven her full throttle into the next chapter of her MMA career.

And although Carmouche has already achieved alot in MMA, like being the first openly gay MMA fighter to compete on a mainstream level, being Ronda Rousey’s first UFC opponent back at UFC 157, to even winning the first ever MMA fight to be legalized at Madison Square Garden.

But even with all those great accomplishments, Carmouche has experienced her biggest success as a undersized UFC bantamweight, and is glad to have finally had an opportunity to be a better fit in the weight class.

“I was beyond pumped,” Carmouche said about hearing the UFC would add a women’s flyweight class. “I was disappointed when I heard they were adding a 145 division, and then the 115 division, and not 125. I know all the female big names were in 135, and a lot of them like myself had moved up a weight class, because I said to myself you’re not going to have this opportunity to fight in the best organizations in the world, so, you go up 10 pounds? Ehh, that’s fine. And the same thing, I knew they were holding off on [flyweight] because they would lose so many people out of the [bantamweight] division.”

Having won three of her last four fights, which include a unanimous decision Jennifer Maia at UFC Boise, Carmouche assumed this should have given her the chance for a title shot ahead of  Jedrzejczyk , who has not competed at 125 pounds since her UFC debut in 2014.

“I understand the storyline aspect,” Carmouche said. “But she hasn’t beaten anyone in this weight class. It’s quickly becoming a stacked weight class and there are plenty of fighters who have competed at 125 and won fights in the UFC.”

Then again, who really knows what to expect? this is the modern day UFC after all, and being that sudden situations such as injuries or missed weight cuts happen almost frequently, Carmouche could end up getting her opportunity anyway.

Be it as a substitute should something health wise occur with either Shevchenko or Jedrzejczyk, or whether it be that the Girl-rilla has to accept another fight in order to justify her case for a future chance at the UFC women’s flyweight gold, Carmouche says she’s ready to do whatever is necessary.

“Nicco needs to fight her way back into contention and maybe that’s the right fight,” Carmouche said. “Whatever I have to do, I’m ready.”