Valentina Shevchenko has solidified her status as one of the best female mixed martial arts (MMA) combatants in the world in her last few fights, taking it to former women’s Straweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk to win the Flyweight title before knocking out Jessica Eye via head kick at UFC 238 (recap).
And let’s not forget the mauling of Priscila Cachoeira and wins over Holly Holm and Juliana Pena. In fact, her only two losses in the last eight years have come against current women’s champ-champ, Amanda Nunes.
It’s that resume and fighting style that has caught everyone’s attention, including that of Paige VanZant’s. “12 Gauge” say she doesn’t see anyone taken down Valentina anytime soon, and says by the time she ever gets a chance to fight for the title, “Bullet” will probably be long gone.
“I am going to be real honest. She is terrifying. I plan on being in the UFC, training forever. She will probably retire before I fight for the title, to be totally honest,” said Paige on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show.
“I am only 25 so I want to work my way up. As far as anyone I see right now to dethrone her, no there is nobody,” she added.
Valentina took exception to Paige wanting to leapfrog her in the championship race a while back, but all that beef aside, VanZant has nothing but love for the dominant champ and hopes to one day acquire her striking skills.
“I know she has said bad things about me in the past, but I don’t care. Her striking is absolutely next-level and she is so methodical and technical in her striking. It’s like nothing I have ever seen before. So I am working on being like her. I want striking like hers. So, congrats to the champ, it was just an awesome performance.”
Paige’s UFC career has been very hot and cold since making her debut back in 2014.
After beginning her Octagon career with three straight wins, “12 Gauge” ultimately ran into Rose Namajunas, losing to the ex-champ via submission. Since, then, Paige has gone 2-2 and hasn’t been able to rack up back-to-back wins.
She did prove victorious in her last outing, taking out Rachael Ostovich via armbar at UFC on ESPN+ 1 this past January. Unfortunately for Paige, she went into that fight with an injured arm, and went on to break that same arm a few months later, leading to another surgery.
See the graphic photos here.
With a timeline of 12 weeks given to her to be able to start training again, Paige has a long road ahead of her before she can get a whiff of a title fight. If and when that day comes, it’s safe to say Paige wouldn’t be too upset if Shevchenko has moved on.