Shevchenko and Peña shared the Octagon in the main event of UFC on FOX 23 back in 2017. At the time, neither woman held gold. While “Bullet” was coming off a victory over Holly Him, which followed her first loss to Amanda Nunes, “The Venezuelan Vixen” was unbeaten at 4-0 in the UFC and had defeated Jessica Eye and Cat Zingano in her prior two outings.
Towards the end of the second round, Peña’s solid clinch work early in the fight and impressive takedown were rendered useless by a flash armbar, securing victory and a bantamweight title shot for Shevchenko.
Now five years on, Shevchenko sits on the flyweight throne, which she has maintained with ease across six defenses. Meanwhile, Peña recently secured her own piece of hardware at UFC 269 last December by achieving a feat Shevchenko failed to accomplish on two separate occasions: beating Nunes.
Now, Shevchenko has assessed the relatively-new reign of her former opponent, but has pinpointed the 135-pound queen’s work outside the cage, rather than in it.
Shevchenko: Peña Is Trying To Speak Bad About Everyone
During a recent interview with James Lynch for Sportskeeda MMA, Shevchenko spoke about the possibility of moving up to challenge Peña in a rematch, something the bantamweight titleholder has noted as a priority following her second meeting with Nunes.
However, the Kyrgyzstani star noted her belief that it’s very unlikely the “Lioness” will fall like she did at UFC 269 when the pair run it back.
“You know, it’s doubtful that the second fight will be the same outcome. It is very doubtful,” claimed Shevchenko.
Discussing what she seemingly believes will be a short-lived rule on the bantamweight throne, Shevchenko suggested that Peña is attempting to gather as much attention as she can while she’s on top.
“I like how Julianna, she’s like, playing mean and trying to speak bad about everyone. No matter who, like her category, not her [category], different promotions, she just speak about everyone. This is, I feel, a strategy for every person who wants to get attention. They are trying to bite every single person.”
Perhaps providing some evidence for Shevchenko’s claims, Peña has had quite a few exchanges through interviews with two-time PFL champion Kayla Harrison, not to mention her criticisms of former UFC star Ronda Rousey.
While Shevchenko doesn’t seem to be anticipating “The Venezuelan Vixen” sitting on the throne long enough for them to share the Octagon again soon, her latest comments will certainly provide some nice heat to a potential rematch build-up.
Do you agree with Valentina Shevchenko’s assessment of Julianna Peña?