9. Valentina Shevchenko
A former 17-time world muay thai and K-1 champion, 29-year-old Russian star Valentina Shevchenko had already compiled an 11-1 MMA record before she was suddenly handed a short notice fight with former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman in the UFC in late 2015.
’Bullet’ would win that fight, and though she lost by decision to future champion Amanda Nunes next time out, she’s since defeated the highly ranked Holly Holm and Julianna Pena to claim the No.1 contender spot.
The multi-talented Shevchenko is also a competitive dancer, has modeled, can play the banjo, speaks English well and lives up to her ‘Bullet’ nickname by being a crack shot at the shooting range, so there’s plenty of ways to promote her.
Shevchenko will now rematch Amanda Nunes for the title in the main event of the marquee UFC 113 event in July and that could take her to the next level, though given that she’s a little undersized for the division, the newly announced flyweight class could be another potential route to rise to the top.