Valentina Shevchenko is finally a UFC champion.
Last night, at UFC 231, Shevchenko defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk by unanimous decision, and can now say she is the UFC’s women’s flyweight champion. Shevchenko was originally supposed to fight for the belt against Nicco Montano at UFC 228 before Montano had to pull out due to weight cutting issues.
However, now that Shevchenko is a champion, don’t be expecting her to accept a fight against Montano anytime soon.
“Who’s that?” Shevchenko said when asked about Montano at the UFC 231 post-fight press conference.
Ultimately, Shevchenko has options for who her next fight will be. She could fight the aforementioned Montano, but a fight against Jessica Eye makes sense. Eye also won her flyweight fight at UFC 231 against Katlyn Chookagian which was seemingly a number one contender fight. Although those are fights that make sense, Shevchenko has her eye on someone else, but it sure isn’t her sister.
“My thoughts on it, I will keep this belt [while] she goes all the way to the No. 1 contender, and then I will see what I’m going to do,” Shevchenko said, discussing her sister. “Because I still have unfinished business with my opponent at bantamweight (Amanda Nunes). I know exactly I never lost that fight, and she knows that she was not the winner of that fight. And we’ll see, we’ll see. Just waiting for my sister, when she climbs up to No. 1.”
In the meantime, even though she wants to fight Nunes, Shevchenko won’t hold out for that fight as she wants to be active defending her belt. Shevchenko doesn’t want to hold up the division and knows she can hold this belt for a long time. All that is known, is that Shevchenko is now a UFC champion.
“I don’t care who will be my next opponent. I’m ready for anyone, and this is what I want to do — to defend the belt as much as I can,” she said. “I’m healthy now. I didn’t get any hard injuries and [I want to] just straight go to the busy work again, because I don’t like to spend the time and say, ‘Okay, I’m champion and I keep my belt for a year doing nothing, just saying hello to the media and showing the belt.’ No, I want action. For me, that’s more important.
“I had to wait on the fight when it will happen with my opponent (Montano) who was holding the belt. Now I’m the champion, I can choose the date.”
It seems likely Shevchenko would return in the spring of 2019 for her first title defense.