Julianna Peña, Shevchenko said, isn’t a bad fighter. She just isn’t Shevchenko.
“She’s good fighter,” Shevchenko said. “She’s wild. But I’m a master.”
Shevchenko defeated Peña by second-round armbar in the main event of UFC on FOX 23 in Denver. The finish came as a surprise. Shevchenko comes from a kickboxing and Muay Thai pedigree, while Peña is known for her grappling. Yet it was Shevchenko the one ending the fight with a submission.
“Like I said before, I’m martial artist,” Shevchenko said. “I’m not only striker like people said. I’m a complete fighter — an MMA fighter.”
Shevchenko, 28, said she always wanted to fight in MMA, but focused on kickboxing and Muay Thai, because there were more women doing those. The Kyrgyzstan native began her pro MMA career way back in 2003. She is a multiple-time world Muay Thai champion with three wins over UFC women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Next up for Shevchenko (14-2) should be a women’s bantamweight title fight against Amanda Nunes. The two former foes in the Octagon and had some words after the main event Saturday night. Shevchenko said the next time the two square off, she’ll be leaving with the belt. Nunes replied that the difference will be that she finishes Shevchenko.
Nunes beat Shevchenko at UFC 196 last March by unanimous decision. Nunes won the first two rounds and Shevchenko won the third. The next time the two meet, if all goes as planned, it’ll be a five-round fight. Nunes is coming off a 48-second knockout of Ronda Rousey at UFC 207 last month.
“I know this will be a totally different fight with a totally different result,” Shevchenko said. “How I said before, Amanda won not because she was stronger than me, it was because maybe I gave her a little bit of a reason to take this victory. I know for sure I was training hard. Every fight makes me much stronger and much stronger.”