Valentina Shevchenko: Jessica Andrade just another challenger to dominate at UFC 261

Mike Bohn
·2 min read

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Valentina Shevchenko’s focus is dialed in as ever going into her title title defense against Jessica Andrade at UFC 261 on Saturday.

Shevchenko (20-3 MMA, 9-2 UFC) is arguably the most dominant champion currently on the UFC roster. She’s steamrolled her way through the women’s flyweight division to four consecutive defenses, and will look to make it five against Andrade (21-8 MMA, 12-6 UFC).

Although Andrade is a former champion at strawweight who presents some interesting physical and stylistic challenges, Shevchenko isn’t fretting her next test. She said the fight will end the same as other her other 125-pound title bouts, and that’s with her hand raised.

“The same goal: To prove that I am the best and show the best fight, show the best techniques, show the best that I can,” Shevchenko told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at Thursday’s UFC 261 news conference. “It’s the same goal that I have all the time, every time – to prove that I am the world champion for a very long time here at flyweight.”

UFC 261 takes place at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena and streams on ESPN+ pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+.

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Andrade said she intends to show Shevchenko no respect when she steps into the octagon. The champion welcomes that, but said it’s not going to make a slight difference because it’s going to be one-way traffic.

“Every time, they say one thing before the fight. But the doors close, it’s different,” Shevchenko said. “(I have) totally different power, totally different things. To have respect is good, but I will dominate. I will dominate this fight because this is my mindset. I was training for this all the time. I will see the hole where I can finish the fight, and definitely I will do it.”

If Shevchenko manages to continue her reign, she said she’s not thinking too hard about who the next challenger will be. The UFC 263 matchup between Lauren Murphy and Joanne Calderwood seems like a de facto No. 1 contender fight between two names who have yet to challenge “The Bullet,” but if it ends up being someone else, Shevchenko said that’s fine by her.

“I don’t know,” Shevchenko said. “I think UFC and Dana (White) has a lot of things in mind. I just keep fighting everyone who is going to be in front of me. As a challenger at flyweight, that’s fine. Something else (or) someone else, that’s fine with me too.”

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