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UFC president Dana White said after UFC 261 he’s not particularly interested in seeing his dominant women’s flyweight champ, Shevchenko, move back up to 135 pounds to take on Nunes for the bantamweight belt.
Shevchenko’s only two losses in the UFC have come to Nunes, who also holds the promotion’s featherweight title and widely is regarded as the best women’s MMA fighter in history after she took out Cris Cyborg to win the 145-pound belt.
Shevchenko (21-3 MMA, 10-2 UFC) stopped former strawweight champ Jessica Andrade (21-9 MMA, 12-7 UFC) with a second-round TKO at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla., Saturday at UFC 261.
Nunes (21-4 MMA, 14-4 UFC) has a bantamweight title defense set for UFC 265 against Julianna Pena (10-4 MMA, 6-2 UFC), whom Shevchenko has a submission win over. Nunes had back-to-back title defenses at featherweight and now will focus on the 135-pound belt.
White said pushing Shevchenko back up to 135 pounds isn’t something he wants to do – not that he couldn’t be swayed by the two principle figures.
“(They should have) their own legacies,” White told MMA Junkie. “They fought a couple times. People can think whatever they want. There’s always going to be somebody else coming up (to challenge Shevchenko). There’s always a new contender. And it’s not Valentina’s fault that she’s one of the all-time baddest women on this planet. So making her move up to 135 pounds just doesn’t make sense when she did it twice.
“If they both come to me and they both want to do it, then whatever – I’ll make it happen. But it’s not something I’m thinking about.”
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As far as Shevchenko is concerned, it doesn’t sound like she’s going to be running to White asking to fight Nunes anytime soon, herself. She said a third fight with the dual-champ is practically bound to happen at some point – but it can wait.
“My career is not going to be over soon,” Shevchenko said. “I plan to fight for a long time. This fight is just going to happen. I’m not going to push it and say, ‘Give me Amanda right now. I’m going to break her face.’ This fight is just going to happen. It’s going to happen just naturally, when everyone feels like, ‘There’s no more. Only this fight makes sense for everyone’ – when the fans, when the UFC, when Dana White thinks we need this fight.
“When it’s time to happen, it’s going to be something big and huge – and I’ll be ready for it. I’m already for it – but I’ll be sure to gain some pounds back.”