After months of silence, Valentina Shevchenko is ready to return to action. However, she has surprisingly looked past Amanda Nunes and Taila Santos for a potential new challenger.
'Bullet' has been a dominant presence in the women's flyweight division, winning all nine of her fights in the weight class. With wins over the who's who of top competitors in the division, there are hardly any viable potential title contenders that the Kyrgyzstani hasn't beaten.
While discussing what's next during an interview with The Schmo, Valentina Shevchenko insisted that Taila Santos needs to prove herself. She added that it is Manon Fiorot that most interests her, saying:
"When you have that many options, it feels good... I was thinking about Manon Fiorot, first... Either fight will work for me [but] I think Taila has to prove herself that she deserves this title [shot] again, because she recently started to speak too much... You have to show [a] beautiful fight and that you deserve [the chance], but for now I don't see that in her, that's why she has to work... Speaking about Amanda, definitely, this fight is gonna happen and I think it's gonna happen sometime soon."
Taila Santos feels she deserves an instant rematch against the 125lb queen after taking her to a razor-close split decision last time out. This is a fight the Brazilian believes she should have walked away with her hands raised.
The 29-year-old was on a four-fight win streak prior to her title fight at UFC 275 earlier this year, but will likely have to get back into the winner's column if she wants another shot at gold.
Check out what Valentina Shevchenko had to say about her possible next opponent in the video below (2:18 mark).
Who is Manon Fiorot, Valentina Shevchenko's potential next title challenger?
Manon Fiorot has been in the UFC for less than two years but has already made a name for herself in the promotion. She finds herself ranked at #1 in the women's flyweight division.
Since arriving in the UFC from UAE Warriors, the France native has been in top form. She won five straight fights and extending her record in the sport to 10 wins with just 1 loss—which came in her MMA debut.
Last time out at UFC 280, Fiorot beat veteran Katlyn Chookagian by decision and rightfully earned her shot at Valentina Shevchenko, though nothing is official on the 34-year-old's next title defense yet.