UFC women’s flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko has pumped the brakes on a champion-versus-champion bout with Weili Zhang.
Zhang’s tear through the strawweight division has made fight fans eager to see her move up to flyweight.
UFC fans are eager to see Weili Zhang move up in weight and face Valentina ShevchenkoCredit: AFP
But Shevchenko doesn’t see the 115 queen winning her UFC 261 clash with Rose NamajunasCredit: Getty
Stylistically, a showdown between Shevchenko and the hard-hitting Zhang would be a fascinating match-up.
But the pair must first win their UFC 261 clashes with Jessica Andrade and Rose Namajunas respectively before the mouth-watering match-up can even be discussed.
Kyrgyzstan’s Shevchenko, however, foresees former 115lb queen Namajunas ending Zhang’s reign atop of the division this weekend.
The 33-year-old told SunSport: “This fight would be interesting for fans only in one case: if she’s still gonna retain her title.
“But let’s not jump that far because she has a very strong opponent [in] Rose Namajunas and he has to pass it.
“I think it’s going to be a very hard challenge for her because I know Rose, she’s my friend, we train together.
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“And I can say exactly that if Rose is going to be in the same shape what I know of her, physical and mental, she’s going to give a very tough fight for Weili.
“If she’s going to be the same Rose, she’s going to win this fight.”
Shevchenko herself has a sizeable task to overcome in former 115lb champ Andrade, who made a spectacular flyweight debut against Katlyn Chookagian last October.
But Bullet feels primed and ready to bank her fifth defence of the 125lb throne, which she’s sat on for close to three years.
The former bantamweight title challenger said: “My training camp went great.
Weili Zhang and Valentina Shevchenko will both be in action at UFC 261 in JacksonvilleCredit: UFC
“This training camp we did in Las Vegas.
“Last time, we came to Florida two weeks before the fight. But it was amazing because we did a lot of sparring, we had all [types] of training partners.
“Muay Thai guys, jiu-jitsu guys and we trained in the UFC Performance Institute.
“So [we had] all the specialists, nutrition, physical therapy.
“They were helping me get into my best shape, my best form. And here I am.”
Shevchenko has been nothing but dominant in her reign at the summit of the 125lb division and is planning to add another ‘explosive’ finish to her highlight reel.
She said: “I feel strong, feel powerful [and I feel] mentally strong. And this is the most important.
“Keep the same energy for the fight and to make an explosion on Saturday.”