Valentina Shevchenko: Nicco Montano is the Legit UFC Flyweight Champion, but ‘Not For Long’

January 31, 2018

Many are calling Valentina Shevchenko the uncrowned champion in the UFC women’s flyweight division, but she refuses to acknowledge that title.

Just days away from her official debut at 125 pounds at UFC Fight Night in Brazil on Saturday, Shevchenko is anxious to kick off her career in the new weight class, where she will be a heavy favorite to challenge for the championship if she gets past newcomer Priscila Cachoeira this weekend.

If she’s victorious, there’s a good chance Shevchenko could find herself facing off with current flyweight champion Nicco Montano, who won the title after competing on this past season of “The Ultimate Fighter” that helped launch the women’s 125-pound division.

Montano didn’t have an easy path to the title, as she took out several established veterans including former Invicta FC flyweight champion Barb Honchak, UFC veteran Lauren Murphy, and top-ranked contender Roxanne Modafferi.

There were still criticisms that Montano wasn’t forced to face some of the fighters who would be considered elite flyweights in the UFC, such as Shevchenko, but don’t count her as one of those detractors.

Shevchenko absolutely considers Montano the real and deserving champion after what she did on the reality show, which was capped off by her win over Modafferi that crowned her the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight queen.

Valentina Shevchenko“She showed for everyone that she deserves this title,” Shevchenko told, when speaking about Montano. “She won all her fights in the reality show. She won her title fight against Roxanne Modafferi. So she just showed that she’s a real one who deserves it. It’s good because she showed that she will never give up. She will fight all five rounds very tough and she will do her best.

“This is a great thing. This is good from the champion.”

That being said, as much as Shevchenko feels that Montano did everything to deserve her championship, the former UFC title contender has no plans to allow her to hold onto that belt for very long.

Shevchenko was one scorecard away from being the UFC women’s bantamweight champion when she faced Amanda Nunes last year, so she’s come close to gold before and now there’s nothing she wants more than to feel that belt wrapped around her waist.

Shevchenko respects the reigning flyweight champion, but Montano has what she wants.

“She’s at where she is now, but not for long because my goal is to fight for the title. This is what I want,” Shevchenko said.

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Of course, Shevchenko isn’t looking past her fight on Saturday night, where she takes on an undefeated prospect in Cachoeira, who would like nothing more than to kick off her UFC career with a massive upset.

If Shevchenko wins as expected, it’s going to be hard to deny her the first shot at Montano’s title after she heals up from a foot injury that hampered her in the lead up to her title fight this past December.

Shevchenko has heard the calls for her to fight for the title. Who is she to deny the people what they want?

“I guess everybody believes it. I hope the UFC believes it, too,” Shevchenko said with a laugh when asked if she should receive a title shot with a win in Brazil.

“Yes, I agree totally. If everyone wants to see me fight for the title, I guess I have to fight for the title.”