Valentina Shevchenko sets her eyes on Manon Fiorot and Alexa Grasso
After six months away from the Octagon, 125-lb champion Valentina Shevchenko is ready to return and her priority is to defend her current title as UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion. For that match, French fighter Manon Fiorot and the Mexican, Alexa Grasso are on the top of her majesty’s list.
When it comes to possible matches, Shevchenko has several options. One option is to fight champion Zhang Weili in the 115-lb division who recently offered to move up a class just to face Shevchenko. There is also the possibility of finishing the trilogy with Amanda Nunes at the 135-lb division, however Shevchenko plans to continue at flyweight.
“It feels good to have many good options. I was thinking at first that I would like to go against Manon Fiorot, since I want to defend my belt, so I asked for the contract because I was ready to fight in December,” Schevchenko said in an interview for the YouTube channel The Schmo in Las Vegas.
The French fighter made her way to the top of the category after defeating Katlyn Chookagian in October, however she suffered a knee injury, which required surgery, and her return date to the octagon is still unknown.
Following in the list of possible challengers are the Brazilian Taila Santos, and American fighters Katlyn Chookagian and Lauren Murphy. Santos, who had a close fight at UFC 275 against the champion, has already asked for a rematch, but Schevchenko stated that she needs to see Santos put on a truly spectacular fight in the upcoming year to win the right to challenge her for the title again.
“Taila, she kind of has to prove about herself, that she deserves this title again. Because she recently started to speak too much. And these kinds of girls, young girls, they have a few victories, some losses, and they have too much ego, and they are starting to speak about themselves like they are something.
The 29-year-old Santos is currently 4-2 in the UFC after her loss to Shevchenko. Shevchenko’s preferred opponent, the 32-year-old Manon Fiorot, is undefeated in the UFC at 5-0 and 10-1 as a pro. Her sole defeat came in her debut in 2018, where she lost to Leah McCourt via split decision.
Schevchenko believes Grasso, originally from Guadalajara and currently ranked number five, may be her next ideal challenger: “Alexa is a very clear candidate for the title fight. If it’s not Manon, then I think it will be against Alexa, it all depends on who is ready.”