Shevchenko is already thinking about her next title defense about two breakout stars in her division.
Reigning UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko is targeting two fighters for her next defense.
Gearing up for a return to the Octagon following her split decision over Taila Santos at UFC 275 in June, Shevchenko sees either Alexa Grasso or Manon Fiorot as opponents. Ranked No. 1 and No. 5 in the flyweight division, Fiorot and Grasso have built their cases for a potential championship opportunity with their recent wins. And they have caught the attention of Shevchenko, who told Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie recently that she is ready for either challenge.
“I would consider two names: It’s Alexa Grasso and Fiorot,” said Shevchenko at the World MMA Awards. “These are two challengers that are extremely good and ready for this title test. I think any of them.”
Should fights against Grasso and Fiorot fail to materialize, Shevchenko would revisit Amanda Nunes, the reigning UFC bantamweight and featherweight champion. The ‘Bullet’ has lost to the ‘Lioness’ twice, once by unanimous decision at UFC 196 and once by split decision at UFC 215, but both women have hinted at a trilogy in the near future.
“There is interest always, and I’m actually ready for that, because it’s a fight that makes sense,” said Shevchenko. “But yeah, let’s see how everything plays out, because I think any bright names, any superfights would be good.”
One superfight that has emerged as an option for Shevchenko is against Zhang Weili, who became a two-time strawweight champion by submitting Carla Esparza at UFC 281 in November. ‘Magnum’ told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour that she and Shevchenko would deliver a ‘banger’ if they fought.
When asked about that champ vs. champ fight, Shevchenko was interested in sharing the Octagon with Weili.
“Definitely, it’s one of the options that can happen,” said Shevchenko. “I saw her recent fights. She got stronger, more tactical, but if a fight is gonna happen, it’s not gonna help her.”
Valentina Shevchenko considering these two names for next title defense