Valentina Shevchenko explains why now isn't the right time for a trilogy fight with Amanda Nunes

Amanda Nunes (left); Valentina Shevchenko (right)
Amanda Nunes (left); Valentina Shevchenko (right)
Johny Payne

Valentina Shevchenko has explained why now isn’t the right time for her trilogy fight against Amanda Nunes. Shevchenko suggested that although she’s ready for her third fight against Nunes, she won’t force it and instead prefers having it come to fruition organically.

On an episode of ESPN MMA’s Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, reigning UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko discussed multiple topics. One of these was a potential trilogy fight against her archrival, reigning UFC women’s bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes.

Upon being questioned whether she’s surprised to hear that Dana White and the UFC aren’t considering her trilogy fight with Amanda Nunes right now, Valentina Shevchenko stated –

“No, I’m not surprised, and like, he (Dana White) is not; I heard what he’s saying about it, and he didn’t say that he’s not interested. He said, like, ‘Yes. If they both (Valentina Shevchenko and Amanda Nunes) want (the fight) and come to me, I will make it happen,” Shevchenko said, referencing White’s statements at the UFC 261 post-fight press conference, wherein he opined that Shevchenko and Nunes can continue building their own legacies in their respective weight classes rather than fighting each other for the third time.
“But the other point, like, I don’t know – I would say let’s leave things like that. Because when it’s gonna be something like, ‘Yes, this is the time. There is no other choices. There is no other way. (Then) it is going to be even bigger, even bigger. And I am ready for this fight. And I will be ready for this fight.”
“But I know that if we’re gonna force it too much, like, ‘Okay! Let’s do it! Let’s do it now!’ It’s like, sometimes it’s not good. Sometimes, you have to wait, when the things gonna happen by themselves. And if, like, everyone will continue like, create this interest, and something like that, it’s gonna happen even bigger. Even bigger than it could happen like, just to do this fight right now.” (*H/T Sportskeeda for the transcription)

Furthermore, Ariel Helwani asked Valentina Shevchenko whether she feels that at the age of 60 or 70 she’ll regret not fighting Amanda Nunes a third time, if they never fight each other again. The UFC women’s flyweight champion replied by noting that it’s hard for her to predict the future in this manner. Shevchenko also explained that Nunes doesn’t occupy an important place in her (Shevchenko’s) life.

'Bullet' added that what she worries about regretting is potentially missing out on the things that she believes she’s supposed to do. Valentina Shevchenko suggested that she loves increasing her wealth of knowledge rather than just sitting in one place to earn more money.

Furthermore, Shevchenko indicated that money isn’t her priority. Learning, exploring, traveling, consistently working on improving as a martial artist, her marksmanship skills, defending her title, fulfilling her obligations, and doing what she needs to do are the things she focuses on.

Valentina Shevchenko vs. Amanda Nunes 3 has long been one of the dream matchups in the combat sports world:

Amanda Nunes (left); Valentina Shevchenko (right)
Amanda Nunes (left); Valentina Shevchenko (right)

The first fight between Valentina Shevchenko and Amanda Nunes was a three-round bantamweight bout at UFC 196 in March 2016. Nunes won the fight via unanimous decision. The fight was a close, exciting, back-and-forth affair. Most fans and experts asserted that Nunes deserved the win on the judges’ scorecards.

The rematch between Valentina Shevchenko and Amanda Nunes witnessed Nunes put her UFC bantamweight title on the line in a five-round bout that headlined UFC 215 in September 2017. This fight was another closely contested one that saw Nunes win via split decision. However, most fans and experts asserted that Shevchenko ought to have been awarded the win.

In the ensuing years, the rivalry between Valentina Shevchenko and Amanda Nunes has gradually grown as both fighters scale greater heights of success in their respective careers. Shevchenko has time and again emphasized that she feels she won the rematch, whereas Nunes has consistently claimed that she got the better of Shevchenko in the rematch.

Certain sections of the combat sports world believe that no fighter presents a significant challenge to Valentina Shevchenko and Amanda Nunes. The consensus is that 'Bullet' and 'The Lioness' are the only ones who currently pose a genuine threat to one another, which is why booking them to compete in their trilogy fight is the logical next step.

Presently, Amanda Nunes is scheduled to defend her UFC women’s bantamweight title against Julianna Pena at UFC 265 on August 7th, 2021. Meanwhile, Valentina Shevchenko’s next opponent and comeback date are yet to be determined, following her dominant win over Jessica Andrade at UFC 261 on April 24th, 2021.


Edited by Avinash Tewari
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