UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko has revealed the one question that she never knows the answer to ahead of a fight.
Shevchenko was last in action at UFC 261 in April. Against former UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion Jéssica Andrade, “Bullet” looked at her best. In the second round, the champ finished the Brazilian with some brutal ground-and-pound.
The Kyrgyzstani’s victory in Jacksonville marked her fifth successful title defense. Since winning the vacant 125-pound gold against Joanna Jędrzejczyk in 2018, Shevchenko has fought off the challenges of Jessica Eye, Liz Carmouche, Katlyn Chookagian, Jennifer Maia, and Andrade.
Having established herself as one of the most dominant champions in the UFC, Shevchenko will be looking to continue her reign when she’s in action this weekend. In the UFC 266 co-main event, “Bullet” will face Lauren Murphy.
In an interview with Combat Sports on Fanatics View ahead of the pay-per-view, Shevchenko was asked how she sees her fight with “Lucky” playing out. In response, the 33-year-old said that’s the one question she can never answer before a fight.
“Before every fight, everyone is asking the same question, and every time I cannot find an answer because I just…I (don’t) visualize it. It’s like wasting your time, actually. Wasting time imagining. It’s like I’m dreaming, something like that? Why you have to do it? It’s so real,” said Shevchenko. “You have to just go in and work in the training about all possible situations. This is only how you can prepare for the fight.
“Then, you will decide inside of the fight what is (a) better tactic. Because it’s so many factors what can play. It’s your opponent, number-one factor. What is her style? What’s her strengths? What’s she want from the fight? And most important: How quickly you can adapt, or switch, or change anything that will help you to win.”
Despite Shevchenko’s dominant stint as queen of the flyweights, Murphy believes she is the toughest contender “Bullet” will have faced. Since a defeat to Sijara Eubanks in 2018, the 38-year-old has built a five-fight win streak that includes victories over Roxanne Modafferi and Joanne Calderwood. In her first title shot this Saturday, the Alaskan will be hoping to be the one to finally dethrone Shevchenko.
Do you think Valentina Shevchenko will successfully defend her title against Lauren Murphy at UFC 266?