UFC women’s flyweight Lauren Murphy believes her upcoming championship opportunity proves that other fighters’ efforts will be rewarded.
After over seven years in the UFC, Murphy will fight for gold for the first time at UFC 266 later this month. And “Lucky” certainly hasn’t found herself opposite the champ by way of luck.
Since a defeat to Sijara Eubanks in 2018, the 38-year-old veteran has won five straight. Victories over Mara Romero Borella, Andrea Lee, Roxanne Modafferi, and Liliya Shakirova brought her into title contention. But it was an impressive split decision victory over former top-five Joanna Calderwood that secured her title shot.
In her way of championship glory will be the dominant Valentina Shevchenko. Since capturing the vacant 125-pound title with a win over Joanna Jędrzejczyk in 2018, ‘Bullet’ has defended the gold five times. Brutal performances over the likes of Jessica Eye and Jéssica Andrade showed the gulf in class between the champ and her challengers. Murphy will hope to challenge that narrative on September 25.
Ahead of the most important bout of her career to date, Lauren Murphy spoke with MMA News’ own James Lynch. Discussing her rise to the top, the Alaskan suggested her journey should act as motivation for other fighters in the UFC. She said it’s proof that hard work does pay off.
“Everyone that’s involved in the sport, they want to know that hard work pays off. Nobody that’s involved in the sport wants to see favorites get title shots. Nobody wants to see people that lose weight or miss fights get rewarded when they have other fighters who are making weight and winning fights,” Murphy told MMA News. “People want to know that hard work is gonna pay off. And I think I’m kind of an embodiment of that, that you can fall, pick yourself back up, keep working hard, try again, and that eventually, those efforts are gonna be rewarded. I think actually everybody in the world wants to see that. So I’m proud to represent that.”
Catch our full interview with Lauren Murphy ahead of UFC 266 below:
Murphy’s title challenge will be the first of two exciting championship fights set for UFC 266. In the main event, this year’s The Ultimate Fighter coaches Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega will collide. Having won his belt from Max Holloway and defended it against the Hawaiian immediately after, Volkanovski will be looking to successfully defend his belt for the second time opposite “T-City.”
The stacked event will also mark the return of fan favorite Nick Diaz. The Stockton native hasn’t entered the Octagon since 2015, and will be looking for his first win since 2011. Diaz will face Robbie Lawler, who he first met inside the cage back in 2004.
Do you think Lauren Murphy has what it takes to defeat Valentina Shevchenko?