Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Nunes: Shevchenko Took The Easy Way Out & Doesn’t Want To Fight Me

Amanda Nunes has an interesting take on why Valentina Shevchenko decided to move down to the flyweight division three years ago.

At UFC 215: Nunes vs. Shevchenko 2, Amanda Nunes defeated Valentina Shevchenko for the second time in what was the closest fight of Nunes’s bantamweight title run. Nunes won a narrow split decision in this, her second bantamweight title defense, and Shevchenko decided to exit the division.

In 2018, Shevchenko officially made the move down to the flyweight division, where she has been completely wrecking shop ever since. In any other time period, Shevchenko would no doubt be the #1-ranked fighter on the women’s pound-for-pound list, but she just happens to be in the Nunes era of women’s MMA, where the Lioness’ reign over her peers has been unmatched, including the two victories over Shevchenko.

Amanda Nunes Shares Why She Doubts Trilogy Fight Will Happen

Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko 3: How likely is the trilogy bout? –  The Athletic
 Credit: Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Despite the fact that the Nunes/Shevchenko score is 2-0 in favor of the double champion, there is still chatter of a trilogy fight happening between these two dominant competitors down the line. Shevchenko recently expressed that the fight will undoubtedly happen but only when the time is right. Nunes doesn’t seem so confident. That’s because she doesn’t believe Shevchenko’s actions match her words about being open to another round with her (transcription via Marcelo Alonso of Sherdog.com).

“If Valentina really wanted to face me again, she would have stayed at 135 pounds. That’s what I would do if someone beat me twice,” Nunes said on the “Mundo da Luta.” podcast. “I wouldn’t look for the easier way to get a title in a lower division thinking, ‘Maybe one day I’ll return to face her.’ No way. If she ran from bantamweight it is because she is aware that I´m the only one who can beat her.”

Dana White also addressed the topic of a potential trilogy between Nunes and Shevchenko. White would prefer the two greats continue doing their own thing down their own individual paths of dominance but stated that if both women came to him requesting the fight, he would make it happen. Already at 2-0 in this equation, Nunes sees no need to do such a thing but wouldn’t hesitate if it were the other way around and White came knocking.

“If Dana White calls me saying I’ll fight next Valentina, or any other fighter, be sure that I´ll be ready to defend my title,” Nunes assured.

As for the possibility of Nunes moving down to claim a third title at flyweight? The thought of making such history did admittedly cross The Lioness’ mind, but she later determined that it just wasn’t possible.

“It would be the biggest achievement of my life to [win] a third belt, but definitely it wouldn’t be safe. I would be able to make weight, but certainly my performance would be affected,” Nunes said.

What are your thoughts on Amanda Nunes’ comments on Valentina Shevchenko?