The two-division UFC women’s champion doesn’t like her chances of fighting Shevchenko a third time – especially since Shevchenko lost her UFC women’s flyweight title a couple of months ago to Alexa Grasso.
“Yeah, I don’t know,” Nunes said at Wednesday’s UFC 289 pre-fight news conference. “I think I have a lot of noise at 135, and I don’t think the UFC is going to stop and then go back with the Valentina thing. That don’t sell nothing.”
A potential then champion vs. champion super fight between Nunes and Shevchenko was once one of the most talked about fantasy fights in MMA.
Nunes defeated Shevchenko twice – once in 2016 and then again in 2017 – but many still to this day think that Shevchenko did enough to win the second fight, thus creating interest in a third meeting.
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Shevchenko, who holds the record for the most consecutive title defenses in UFC women’s history, recently saw her dominant reign come to an end after Mexico’s Grasso submitted her in the UFC 285 co-main event in March.
Unlike many, Nunes was not surprised to see Shevchenko fall.
“I was not surprised,” Nunes said. “I fought Valentina when she was in her prime, and we were both growing. Last fight, we were both growing as a fighter. Valentina has a lot of holes that I can see. I wasn’t able to do back then, but I see how Alexa Grasso would be able to finish her.”
Nunes (22-5 MMA, 15-2 UFC) returns to the cage Saturday in hopes of defending her women’s bantamweight title against Irene Aldana (14-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC), one of Grasso’s teammates. The two headline UFC 289, which takes place at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+.
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For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 289.