Erin Blanchfield becoming a top 3 fighter is a surprise to no one.
Achieving this before her 24th birthday? Even the most staunch Blanchfield supporter would have tempered their predictions on that one.
When Blanchfield went from fighting Taila Santos to Jessica Andrade in the UFC Vegas 69 main event, there was reason to believe that the flyweight blue-chipper had finally bitten off more than she could chew. After all, Andrade is one of the best finishers in all of MMA, a former UFC champion at 115 pounds, and a fighter whose only losses over the past seven years have been to Valentina Shevchenko, Rose Namajunas, Zhang Weili, and Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
You can add Blanchfield to that illustrious list now as she put on a performance worthy of those great names and leaps all the way from No. 9 to the No. 2 spot in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings.
Our panel almost unanimously elevated Blanchfield to No. 1, with just one vote placing her there. 3 behind Santos, a top contender who nearly beat Shevchenko at UFC 275 this past June. Now, it’s Blanchfield who appears to be the odds-on favorite to someday dethrone the unstoppable “Bullet.”
Shevchenko already has a title defense booked in a few weeks against Alexa Grasso at UFC 285, so it’s presumptuous for us to assume that she will still have the title by the time Blanchfield’s next fight is booked. But if Shevchenko’s next fight plays out as expected, she’ll need a fresh challenger, and few would argue that Blanchfield is now the most intriguing contender at 125 pounds.
Has Blanchfield guaranteed herself a title shot? And if she gets it, is she the one to end Shevchenko’s legendary reign?
Vote and comment in this poll.