Valentina Shevchenko defends her flyweight championship against Katlyn Chookagian at UFC 247. It goes down Saturday, February 8th live on pay-per-view. The event emanates from Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. Shevchenko vs Chookagian is positioned as the co-main event bout just below Jon Jones vs Dominick Reyes. The reigning titlist is seen by many pundits and fans alike as untouchable at 125 lbs. A very capable number one contender aims to throw cold water onto that notion.
I was able to briefly speak with Valentina Shevchenko during the UFC 247 media conference call held on February 3rd.
A lot of the dialogue heading into this fight has been centric on champions in other weight classes (UFC strawweight champion Weili Zhang and bantamweight/ featherweight UFC titlist Amanda Nunes).
When I asked Shevchenko if she felt her flyweight efforts were in a way getting overlooked, she quipped “I think that they’re just curious and want to know about everything what’s going on. Of course, I think they understand that flyweight is very hard, competitive division. Of course, they understand it. But of course, everyone wants to see a little bit more of it. I think it’s normal that people have interest in all of these things at one time.”
I also enquired about what Chookagian brings to he table, skillset-wise, that separates her from the pack of prior opponents the champ has been in the octagon with.
Shevchenko said, “What she will bring different from previous opponents….I think being Katlyn she’s already different than other ones. I don’t believe any fighter can be that similar to one you fought already. Even same fighter when you fight them twice, it totally can be two different fights. Of course, she has her style. We prepared for her style. That’s it. I hope it’s going to be good fight. She will put everything on the ground inside the octagon and of course I’m ready for her. I don’t believe in easy fight. I believe in training hard to make the fight easy.”
LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW BELOW: