Valentina Shevchenko may try to join an exclusive club after UFC 275.
Shevchenko is one of the most dominant champions in MMA today, having defended her UFC flyweight title six consecutive times since capturing it in 2018. She hunts for her seventh consecutive defense on Saturday when she takes on Taila Santos in UFC 275’s co-main event, and if “The Bullet” does emerge victorious, a shot at two-division glory against the woman holding the UFC bantamweight belt may not be far off.
“I respect her so much, whatever she wants to do, I’m down,” UFC president Dana White told The Underground ahead of UFC 275.
“She can keep defending the title. She can fight Julianna [Peña], she can fight Amanda [Nunes]. Whatever she wants to do, if she wants it bad enough, I’ll try to make it happen.”
Peña and Nunes are expected to rematch on July 30 at UFC 277. The two are currently head coaches on The Ultimate Fighter 30. “The Venezuelan Vixen” stunned the sports world this past December when she submitted Nunes with a second-round rear-naked choke to end the Brazilian’s five-year run as UFC bantamweight champion in one of the biggest upsets in MMA history.
Shevchenko fought at 135 pounds early in her UFC career and even challenged for the bantamweight title against Nunes in 2017, losing a contentious split decision.
Since that loss, Shevchenko has established herself as one of the most dominant fighters in the sport, racking up a perfect 8-0 record at 125 pounds. If she defeats Santos at UFC 275, she’ll surpass Ronda Rousey’s record for the most consecutive title defenses for a female champion in UFC history. That peerlessness is part of the reason why she’s beginning to publicly mull a move back to 135 pounds for a shot at becoming just the fifth-ever simultaneous two-division UFC champion — and White is finally amenable to the idea.
“That’s the problem with this fight — Santos is 19-1 and she’s a very dangerous opponent for Shevchenko, but a lot of people don’t realize it,” White said. “This should be a very, very [tough fight], a much tougher fight than people would think. If Valentina Shevchenko can run through her like she has everybody else, holy s***.
“What Valentina has accomplished, what Anderson [Silva] did during his reign, the list goes on and on — and that’s exactly what happens, people say the division is weak,” White continued. “No, Valentina Shevchenko is so good, she makes the division look weak.”