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Valentina Shevchenko (14-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) is a Kyrgyz Muay Thai Fighter and mixed martial artist who was supposed to face current champion Amanda Nunes (14-4 MMA, 7-1 UFC) on July 8th in the women’s bantamweight division of the UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The two fighters were no strangers to each other and have met once before in March at UFC 196, with Nunes claiming a unanimous decision win. In order to gain a rematch and title shot, Valentina Shevchenko had to beat ex-champ Holly Holm and contender Julianna Pena. Valentina might have lost her first bout against Nunes, but it has only made her more ferocious as a fighter.

UFC Fighter Valentina Shevchenko

Nunes and Shevchenko met again in May during their “UFC Summer Kickoff” press conference taking place just a few weeks before their main-event’s scheduled rematch. An image circulated the internet showing Nunes’ hand laying on Shevchenko’s face. Valentina Shevchenko handled the incident like a boss and later said that Nunes couldn’t control her nerves because of all the pressure and attention.

Just three hours prior to the UFC 213 Vegas event, news broke that Nunes had been hospitalized earlier in the day and would not be able to compete in her anticipated rematch against Valentina Shevchenko. Devastated Shevchenko believes that Nunes attempted a rapid weight cut that was supposed to give her a physical advantage in her title defence fight. When it didn’t go as planned, Valentina Shevchenko said she pulled out. It has now been confirmed that Amanda Nunes will defend her featherweight title against Valentina Shevchenko in Edmonton’s UFC 215 on September 9th.

Valentina Shevchenko told us, “My goal is to be the champion in my division. And it doesn’t matter how strong my opponent is, I am stronger.”

10 Questions with UFC Fighter

Valentina Shevchenko

UFC Fighter Valentina Shevchenko

Leading up to the fight, you and Amanda Nunes had quite a few verbal and even physical exchanges. Do you actually hate your opponents?

No, I never hate my opponents, but I don’t like when they start to trash talk.

After your fight with Amanda Nunes, who would you like to fight in the future and why?

I don’t like to think about it right now. I am very focused on my upcoming fight and all my thoughts revolve around my good preparation and doing everything I can to take the victory.

Do you have any rituals or superstitions prior to the fights?

I train not to focus on superstitions or anything like that. If, for any reason, a fighter can’t complete a ritual, he will only think about that ritual and not about the fight.

UFC Fighter Valentina Shevchenko
UFC Fighter Valentina Shevchenko
UFC Fighter Valentina Shevchenko
UFC Fighter Valentina Shevchenko

MMA is very popular in Russia and ex USSR republics. How are you treated when you visit now that you’re a top UFC fighter?

The last time I was home was in 2011 and in Russia in 2013. In the last few years, I spent more time training and preparing for the fights in Thailand and Texas.

Do you have a role model or someone you look up to?

No, I don’t. But my favorite fighter is Benny The Jet Urquidez.

UFC Fighter Valentina Shevchenko
UFC Fighter Valentina Shevchenko
UFC Fighter Valentina Shevchenko
UFC Fighter Valentina Shevchenko
UFC Fighter Valentina Shevchenko
UFC Fighter Valentina Shevchenko

If you weren’t a fighter, what would you be?

A fighter. It’s my destiny.

Not many people know, but you’re fluent in Spanish. Where did you learn the language?

I lived in South America for 8 years, together with my sister Antonina Shevchenko (World Muaythai Champion) and our long time coach Pavel Fedotov.

UFC Fighter Valentina Shevchenko
UFC Fighter Valentina Shevchenko
UFC Fighter Valentina Shevchenko
UFC Fighter Valentina Shevchenko
UFC Fighter Valentina Shevchenko
UFC Fighter Valentina Shevchenko

Are men intimidated by you in every day life?

Not at all. Just in the ring.

Would you marry someone who doesn’t know how to fight?

I don’t think about marriage right now. My fighting career is number 1 in my life.

What is your favourite memory from your fighting experience?

Each fight and each championship is a very unique memory. Every fight is very important to me. Actually, it’s not only about the fight, but also the preparation for the fight, the training camps… I get to do it in very different countries like Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Thailand, Peru, USA! I treasure all these memories.

UFC Fighter Valentina Shevchenko
UFC Fighter Valentina Shevchenko
UFC Fighter Valentina Shevchenko
UFC Fighter Valentina Shevchenko
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