On the precipice of their rematch this weekend at UFC 213, Shevchenko has been asked a million times already about her original fight with Nunes and a pivotal third round that nearly changed the course of history in the women’s bantamweight division.
Following a strong start from the future champion, Shevchenko surged back in the third round and nearly beat Nunes while staging an impressive comeback, but the judges ultimately handed her a unanimous-decision loss.
Now, looking back ahead of their rematch, Shevchenko knows she handed Nunes the win far more than the Brazilian actually went out there and beat her. That’s why Shevchenko is brimming with confidence as she sent a strong message to the champion ahead of their rematch on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
“That fight, yes, she won this fight, but it was very, very close,” Shevchenko explained when speaking to the Fight Society podcast. “She won that fight not because she was stronger. She won it because I gave her this opportunity.
“This fight, the next fight on [July 8], I will not give her any opportunity to take the victory. Because this is my time. This is my fight and I will do everything [to win].”
Nunes then engaged in a shouting match with Shevchenko at the UFC Summer Kickoff press conference that ended with a physical altercation on stage during the customary face-off.
Looking back, Shevchenko knows she got under Nunes’ skin that day when the champion went as far as shoving her during that staredown.
“This thing what she did, from my point of view, why she did it, it’s only because she cannot support this nervous situation that it was,” Shevchenko explained. “She cannot manage all her nerves that were in the press conference. That’s why she was acting without any control.
“But it doesn’t matter for me, because my goal is victory and I’m training hard. I’m doing everything to take this belt.”
While Nunes may be running hot on emotion, Shevchenko has already detached herself from that situation and any other that may arise during fight week.
Shevchenko knows she can’t allow personal feelings to cloud her preparation to face Nunes on Saturday night because the title is far more important than any long standing grudge she might have with the current champion.
“To win the fight, I have to be very cold to make the right decisions and I will be because my goal is only victory nothing more,” Shevchenko said.
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As much as the third round in the first fight has become a focal point for the conversation in the lead-up to the rematch, the one aspect that can’t be ignored is Shevchenko pushing the pace for all 15 minutes while Nunes definitely started to fade.
Nunes has insisted since that fight that she’s fixed whatever conditioning issues may have existed that night, but Shevchenko is definitely curious to see what happens if this fight makes it into the championship rounds.
Of course, Shevchenko isn’t conceding a fast start to Nunes and then roaring back with another late-fight performance. Instead, Shevchenko will be gunning for the finish from the first minute until the last and it’s only a matter of how long Nunes can survive.
“It doesn’t matter if it will be the first round, second round, or whatever. It doesn’t matter at all,” Shevchenko said. “I follow my goal from my first step to the UFC Octagon to be the champion. Every fight makes me closer to my goal. Here I am and just a little bit time more and I will do everything and I will do my best fight [yet].”
Unlike some fighters, Shevchenko won’t make a bold prediction about how she will be victorious at UFC 213 much less explaining exactly how she plans to beat Nunes.
Instead, Shevchenko promises that she’ll reveal all when she meets Nunes inside the Octagon.
“I will show you July 8,” Shevchenko said. “Everything that I want to say, I will show everything on this day.”