Valentina Shevchenko not worried about losing championship motivation after 27-year journey to the top

    Valentina Shevchenko has been unstoppable at 125 pounds, a trend that she expects to continue for a long time.

    The reigning UFC flyweight champion recorded her fourth consecutive defense of her title with a convincing unanimous decision win over Jennifer Maia in the co-main event of UFC 255 at UFC APEX in Las Vegas on Saturday. Despite the rare sight of Shevchenko losing a round, she recovered from a poor second period to dominate the remainder of the fight and improve her overall record to 20-3 (all three of Shevchenko’s career losses have come at bantamweight).

    At the evening’s post-fight press conference, Shevchenko spoke about how she’s still working on clearing out her division and how her seemingly easy victories have done nothing to lessen her motivation.

    “This is what I’m doing.” Shevchenko said. “It’s what I want because finally I’m in flyweight, my natural weight class, where I feel the most power, the technique, the speed, everything. Definitely I want to compete here for a long time to defend my belt against anyone who’s gonna be in front of me. I heard some people there saying, ‘Dominant champ,’ something like that, ‘you are losing motivation, there is no motivation because you feel it’s easy passing everyone,’ but it’s not like that. Because the way that I did to become UFC champion, it’s not one people can imagine that they’re gonna do. For example, people who are born in the United States, they can have seven or eight fights and already fight for the UFC. Me, I was born in Kyrgyzstan, martial arts I start to do at five years old.

    “Five years ago, I joined the UFC finally, right? It took 22 years from my start, moving around the world, traveling, fighting, winning world championships, moving closer, closer, closer, 22 years with a record of 17 world championships just to join the UFC. After 27 years, I became world champion of the UFC. So there is no way I am going to lose my motivation to still be the dominant champion and continue my success in martial arts because I know how hard it was.”

    One might wonder if some of Shevchenko’s opponents are already competing at a deficit before they even step into the cage with “Bullet,” given how indomitable she’s proven to be. Before losing a round to Maia, Shevchenko hadn’t been on the wrong end of a 10-9 since she fought Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231 two years ago.

    Title challengers Katlyn Chookagian, Liz Carmouche, and Jessica Eye provided little resistance, but Shevchenko played down any perceived mental edge that others may think she has.

    “I don’t think that it happens here,” Shevchenko said. “UFC, it’s a top league. There are no amateurs who have this mentality. Only the best in the whole world fight in here and the best have different mental settings in their head. They don’t have this fear because a fight is a fight.

    “Of course, you’re going to face some very strong opponents, but they’re gonna go there to lose? I don’t think so because here only the best ones fight in the UFC.”

    Shevchenko wants to compete at least three times in 2021 and she’s looking forward to potential fights with top contenders Jessica Andrade and Lauren Murphy. Should she continue to successfully defend her title, superfights with two-division champion Amanda Nunes (who has twice defeated Shevchenko by decision) and strawweight champion Zhang Weili loom as oft-discussed possibilities.

    However the next few years go for Shevchenko, she’s not setting a retirement date for herself because she wants to make sure that when she’s done fighting it’s because she truly has no reason to step back into the cage.

    “I don’t have a date,” Shevchenko said. “I think it’s very early, 35, 36. Because I believe that a person who still have it, like desire, technique, power, strength, you have to use it until the end. Because if you decide, ‘Okay, I’m going to stop it now.’ And probably after a few years you are thinking, ‘Why wouldn’t I try to do it again and come back from my retirement?’ But there is another factor that you are not the same person, you are older. You lost your skills because you didn’t do enough training and you didn’t maintain your spirit of the fighter and the time is already gone.

    “Then you look back and, ‘Oh, it’s so frustrating. Why I took that decision?’ That’s why I’m a person who believes you have to use your potential right now, right today, before you’re gonna feel, ‘Okay, this is time to do something else.’”

    Shevchenko laughed at the possibility of overstaying her welcome, explaining that she doesn’t expect to see the kind of decline that has plagued so many fighters in their twilight years.

    “I tell you what, my skills never get lower,” Shevchenko said. “It’s not gonna be lower, lower, and lower. It’s gonna be higher, higher, and higher. … Until [I’m in my] 50s.”

    This article was originally published on

    Related articles

    Who wins between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

    Latest articles

    First Women’s World Judo Championships – 40th Anniversary Celebrations (Part 1/2)

    Live: Saturday, 28. Nov. 2020 at 06:00 PM CET.Join the webinar with language translations in English, French, Spanish and Italian: Jane Bridge GBR 48 kg Mary Lewis USA 48 kg Monica Guadagnini ARG 61 kg Xiomara Orozco VEN 61 kg Anita Staps NED 61 kg Edith Simon AUT 66 kg Dawn Netherwood GBR 66 kg Margherita De Cal ITA +72 kg

    Kevin Holland pulled from main event against Jack Hermansson at UFC Vegas 16

    The upcoming UFC event on Dec. 5 will need a new main event after Kevin Holland was forced out of his scheduled fight against...

    Mike Tyson details ‘100-pound process’ to get back in shape, reacts to the rules for Roy Jones Jr. exhibition

    Mike Tyson will readily admit he had no business setting foot in the ring in the final bout of his legendary career when he...

    Chris Eubank Jr says Roy Jones Jr can knock Mike Tyson out | FULL INTERVIEW

    Chris Eubank Jr previews Roy Jones Jr's fight with Mike Tyson and who he thinks will end up winning the exhibition.Click here to buy #TysonJones on BT Sport Box Office on Saturday, November 28th ➡️ to BT Sport Boxing on YouTube ➡️ BT Sport Boxing on Twitter ➡️ Join our BT Sport Boxing Facebook Group ➡️ Follow us on Instagram ➡️ Read more on upcoming fights on BT Sport and BT Sport Box Office ➡️