UFC women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko was recently interviewed in Russian, with subtitles, by RT, and was asked if she wanted to go after the title defense record in her division, or superfight?
"When I started fighting in the UFC, I always fought in the 135 division. That's a division higher than where I fight now," she replied. "So all my opponents were heavier, taller, and stronger than me. I had no problems with that. I felt confident in that division. But when you're fighting in a weight above you, you feel that it's not for you, because you have to try harder, think more about what you do, and can't reach your full potential, because you always have to be careful because the fighters are stronger.
"I want to reiterate that I never had any problems fighting there. I fought for the 135 pound title and many people, not just me, thought that I won the fight against Amanda. If you watch that fight again, more people will agree. So when the UFC finally opened up the 125-pound division, that was my weight division, where I can fully reach my potential.
"I wouldn't drop down to 115. To fight at 115 I'd have to spend a lot of time on my diet, as opposed to my training sessions. At 125 I don't think about dieting because it's my natural weight, I focus on training. At 135 I focused on training and gaining weight. Right now it's important for me to fight in the right weight division, to fully focus on my training, and to improve myself during my training sessions. Right now I feel like I'm in the right place, at the right time, in the right weight division. I want to do as much as I can in right where I'm at."
Shevchenko was asked if she would fight a champion from another division. This would be Weili Zhang coming up with the aim of becoming champ champ, or Amanda Nunes dropping to become champ champ champ.
"I'd love to," replied Shevchenko. "I'd love to fight Amanda Nunes at 125. She said she can easily cut weight, bring her on!"
Shevchenko was also asked about Zhang, with the interviewer noting Zhang is higher in the P4P rankings.
"I really don't care about the rankings," replied Valentina. "But on the other hand, let the woman enjoy her time in the limelight. She's like a moth that lives for only a day. They show up, do their thing, then disappear. I think Weili is like that.
"She's not a bad fighter, she had a tenacious fight where she showed her tenacity. But that's it. To be top of the top, a fighter has to have more technique, smarts. It's not enough to just charge and exchange blows. I don't see her being around for a long time."