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Valentina Shevchenko is ready to pursue a third fight against Amanda Nunes but there’s only one problem — she doesn’t believe the two-division UFC champion wants anything to do with it.
Typically reserved whenever Nunes’ name comes up, the reigning UFC flyweight champion was brutally honest when addressing her former opponent during an appearance on The MMA Hour on Wednesday.
According to Shevchenko, as much as everyone else would like to see the trilogy happen, it’s Nunes who likely serves as the biggest roadblock to that fight being booked.
“I kind of feel that she’s doesn’t want too much this fight to happen,” Shevchenko said. “Because inside of herself, she feels that she was gifted the victory from our second fight. Gifted by the judges. She feels that she was beaten by the smaller girl from the smaller weight class and she is a bigger girl. It’s kind of like pressure on her from the inside.
“That’s why she kind of like says ‘I [beat] her twice,’ whatever she’s saying. But it’s kind of like this camouflages what she’s feeling for real and definitely if you was beaten by someone smaller than you by two [weight classes], it would affect you. That’s why I feel she’s kind of like ‘I don’t want that fight happening.’”
Shevchenko has only tasted defeat twice in her UFC career and both of those losses came to Nunes.
The first fight was a three-round matchup where Nunes earned the victory but Shevchenko came storming back in the third round as she looked for the finish.
The rematch happened 18 months later with the bantamweight title on the line and Nunes walked away with a razor-close split decision win but Shevchenko has always maintained that she deserved the nod that night.
Since that time, Shevchenko has been focused on her career at 125 pounds but she’s also paid attention to what Nunes says whenever her name comes up about a potential third fight between them.
“It kind of makes sense exactly this way because if you listen to her interviews all the time, she’s kind of like ‘why do I have to fight her? I beat her twice, I don’t have nothing to do with that’ and it’s kind of like when you start to defend yourself in this aggressive style,” Shevchenko said. “
“It means that inside of you, you have something saying oh no, you’re guilty. Inside of her, it’s saying that ‘no, you lost that fight.’”
If a third fight ever happens, Shevchenko is supremely confident that she would avenge those past losses and prove she’s better than Nunes.
“This is my goal. I know that when we will have fight next time, it’s going to be I will be ready to do anything,” Shevchenko said. “Time passed, I’m a different fighter, she is a different fighter than the last time that we fought.
“In my mind, in my mindset, I don’t have any ‘maybe if …. I will try’ — no, my mind is like only there. Only forward. No matter. I have to die [in] there but I have to be in there.”
For all the ways Shevchenko would like to see Nunes standing across the octagon from her in the near future, she won’t be calling the UFC any time soon to demand that fight.
As flyweight champion, Shevchenko is ready to defend her title against any and all comers and while a move back to 135 pounds to face Nunes absolutely interest her, she refuses to beg for it.
“I’m here. I don’t have to go and ask,” Shevchenko said. “I’m not the person that’s ‘oh give me that, give me those, I need to do that.’ I don’t like people who do that. I don’t like people who say ‘oh no, I deserve the bonus, give me my money.’ I don’t like when people start to ask for themselves. If they are doing amazingly great, they will be given. Because the UFC is all professional, they understand who deserves or not.
“It’s just like my opinion, that you don’t have to come every time and constantly ask about everything. You don’t have to come and ask ‘ put me in the No. 1 position pound-for-pound, do that.’ I don’t feel it’s right. I don’t feel it’s right if you have an honor, you would do your things greatly and the best way what you can and then when it’s going to be inevitable happening that fight, it’s going to fight. When it’s going to happen, it’s going to be much, much bigger than the opportunity when someone goes there and asks ‘let’s do that fight.’”
Trilogies work best when the rivalry is knotted up at 1-1 with the rubber match on deck to settle things once and for all.
Their very next fights had Nunes defeating Tate to begin her bantamweight championship reign of dominance, which continues today, and Shevchenko defeating Holm by unanimous decision.
Shevchenko defends her flyweight title against Lauren Murphy on Saturday night but still has unfinished business with the GOAT.
All being said, there’s residue of unfinished business between Nunes and Shevchenko. Their last fight left a foul stench in the air and the only way to clear it is to have the living legends and surefire Hall of Famers tangle one more time in the Octagon. It must happen.
“She didn’t hit (me) not one time, not one punch, nothing significant,” Shevchenko told Joe Rogan after the loss. “Look at her face. The nose is red from my punches. And why is she still (the champion)? She’s still? I really don’t understand.”
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