Jessica Andrade is not one to back down mentally or physically from any of her peers, including the dominant champion she hopes to dethrone: Valentina Shevchenko.
Jessica Andrade knows what it feels like to be a UFC champion, and she is eager to relive that feeling in a new division. After defeating Rose Namajunas for the strawweight championship at UFC 237, Andrade would drop the title to Weili Zhang and then lose the rematch to Rose Namajunas. Now, Andrade has found a new home in the flyweight division, and she hopes this change will reap the same rewards that her move from bantamweight to strawweight had for her career.
For this to happen, she will need to be the woman to do what no other flyweight has come close to achieving: defeating Valentina Shevchenko. If Andrade pulls it off, she would liken the achievement to what her rival Rose Namajunas was able to achieve at UFC 217.
“(Shevchenko) has a big name in the fight world,” Andrade told MMA Fighting. “It would be like when Rose defeated Joanna, a historical moment which few could accomplish. It would be great for me. Being champion again and having my name at the top would be a dream come true.”
Jessica Andrade has always been comfortable and confident enough to never shy away from telling the public exactly how she plans on being victorious, seemingly with no regard for whether or not her opponent is listening. In the case of her expected bout against Valentina Shevchenko, Andrade seems to already have her game plan all ironed out, and she believes her strategy will prove that Valentina’s greatness is not bulletproof.
“Valentina is a great fighter and has my total respect, but I think the strategy to fight her would be work on the ground and pound and don’t give her any space,” Andrade said. “She does well when she has space — and she’s a southpaw, so walk towards her weak arm and use my strength and my takedowns.
“You have to make sure her arms and legs get tired in the first rounds so it gets easier. That’s something I do well. I’m strong against the cage and it takes a while before I get tired, so that’s my differential.”
Jessica Andrade was also sure to mention the value of throwing in kicks to the equation. If things go as she expects, Andrade will have the chance to put this game plan in motion against Shevchenko around March or April.
What do you think the odds are of Jessica Andrade’s game plan leading to a victory over Valentina Shevchenko?