UFC women’s flyweight champion Shevchenko (23-3 MMA, 12-2 UFC), who claimed that she weighed 130 pounds in her win against Taila Santos at UFC 275, pondered the idea of strawweight at the post-fight news conference in Singapore.
When asked her thoughts on Shevchenko’s potential drop to 115 pounds, recently-crowned UFC strawweight champion Esparza (19-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC) could only laugh.
“Well, that would be scary,” Esparza told MMA Junkie. “She is a beast, for sure. I think that she would definitely put some fear in a lot of strawweights’ hearts. I mean, if you look at (Jessica) Andrade and Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), some of the most dominant strawweights in the division, they go up, fight her, and they get destroyed. It’s hard to say what a weight cut would do to her because that’s a little, you know, a bit to go. But yeah, that would be scary.”
Shevchenko faced her sternest test to date when she squeaked by Santos in a split decision at UFC 275. Esparza was impressed by Santos’ performance, but sees Shevchenko as the greatest female fighter in the sport.
“I thought Taila looked really awesome,” Esparza said. “I think she surprised a lot of people with how well she did especially in the first three rounds. I saw there was an accidental headbutt and she lost some vision. Had that not happened, I could see the fight – I mean it was a very close fight, I could have seen it go the other way, but at the end of the day, Valentina got her hand raised.”
She continued, “For me, Valentina, I consider her as the GOAT of women’s MMA.”