UFC champ Valentina Shevchenko not rushing to rematch Amanda Nunes

After fighting above her weight class for the majority of her UFC career, UFC flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko wants to stay in her own division.

Moments removed from a dominant win over Liz Carmouche (13-7 MMA, 5-5 UFC) at Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 14 event in Montevideo, Uruguay, Shevchenko (18-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) demurred at superfights against strawweight champ Jessica Andrade or two-division champ Amanda Nunes.

“I see more Amanda maybe, but not next, and not right now,” Shevchenko said on the ESPN+ post-fight show. “My goal (is to have a lot of title defenses) for now. I was fighting for so long in different weight classes, and every time against a bigger, heavier, taller opponent. It makes all the difference.

“Now, I finally have the opportunity to fight against the same sized opponent.”

Shevchenko went 3-2 as a UFC bantamweight with both of her losses coming against Nunes. After a contentious loss in a rematch, she moved down to 125 pounds and quickly made her presence known. A scheduling saga with inaugural champ Nicco Montano delayed her title shot, but she eventually vied for the vacant belt and dominated Joanna Jedrzejczyk to pick up her first UFC belt.

In a trio of performances, Shevchenko has looked nothing short of unstoppable at 125 pounds, leading to talk of superfights.

But Shevchenko revealed that there are other challenges on the horizon at 125 pounds. In fact, she said, her originally scheduled opponent on Saturday night wasn’t Carmouche, the only opponent other than Nunes with a win over her in MMA.

“For this fight, the UFC offered me a fight with Katlyn Chookagian, and I accepted it,” Shevchenko said. “But because of personal things, she decided to take some time off.”

Chookagian (12-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) is 3-1 in the flyweight division and most recently outpointed Joanne Calderwood in a fight billed to have title implications.

In a previous interview, Chookagian spoke of a potential title shot. But with her upcoming marriage and experience of her teammates, she wasn’t confident about getting the opportunity to fight Shevchenko.

Now, she may have more reason than ever to get ready for five rounds. If Shevchenko needs opponents at flyweight, the list of available contenders is fairly short.

“Maybe when my sister (UFC flyweight Antonina Shevchenko) is on top as the No. 1 contender, I’ll say, ‘You fight for the title, and I’ll go,’” Valentina Shevchenko joked.

One thing is for sure: Chookagian is watching and waiting for her chance to fight.

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