Valentina Shevchenko Wants Amanda Nunes Next, but What About Julianna Pena?

July 24, 2016

Though Valentina Shevchenko is only four months removed from having lost to now-UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes, that’s the fight that she wants next.

Shevchenko lost a three-round unanimous decision to Nunes at UFC 196 on March 5, the same night that Holly Holm lost the bantamweight belt to Miesha Tate in the UFC 196 main event. Nunes went on to defeat Tate at UFC 200 on July 9 to capture the title.

With a dominant five-round decision win over Holm at UFC on FOX 20 on Saturday night, Shevchenko believes that she is ready to rematch Nunes, this time for the belt.

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Amanda Nunes - Valentina Shevchenko - Julianna Pena“This is what I want so much. This fight with Amanda that I had before, she won not because she was more stronger than me. I think because I gave her opportunity to win the fight,” Shevchenko said at the UFC on FOX 20 post-fight press conference.

Even before the post-fight press conference was over, however, Nunes had already commented on Twitter, saying, “If I fight (Shevchenko) again, I will beat her again, this time very clean.”

Nunes also had an alternative plan for Shevchenko, saying that she felt Shevchenko needed to “prove herself a little more,” suggesting that she should fight Julianna Pena for the right to fight for the title.

Asked about Nunes’ tweets during the press conference, Shevchanko responded with a wry smile.

“(Nunes) is definitely scared. I’m ready for five rounds for sure,” said Shevchenko. “I will take whoever I need to fight next, but I think she is definitely scared.”

UFC officials have yet to say what the plan is for Nunes’ first title defense, but there are few logical contenders in line. Ronda Rousey is guaranteed a title shot upon her return, according to UFC president Dana White, but thus far, her return is still up in the air. Outside of Rousey, all the other top contenders outside of Pena and Shevchenko are coming off of losses.

While Nunes may think that Pena vs. Shevchenko is a logical match-up, that likely doesn’t sit well with Pena, who was calling for a shot at the belt after her victory over Cat Zingano at UFC 200.

“I’m 7-0 (in the UFC, including The Ultimate Fighter),” she said. “I don’t know what else I have to do. I’m ready to fight for the title, and I’m ready to go and get what’s mine.”

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