UFC president, Dana White appears to have changed his mind on the possibility of a trilogy pairing between two-weight champion, Amanda Nunes, and current flyweight queen, Valentina Shevchenko — questioning why the promotion should field a third bout between the two.
Bahia native, Nunes, co-headlines UFC 269 this weekend in her bantamweight division return for the first time in two years — attempting to secure her sixth title defense as she tackles the #3 ranked contender and The Ultimate Fighter 18 victor, Julianna Pena.
For Kyrgyzstan native, Shevchenko the striking maestro is in the midst of a stunning eight-fight winning run since her move to the flyweight ranks, lodging her sixth title defense against former Invicta FC bantamweight best, Lauren Murphy in the co-main event of UFC 266 in September.
Ever since Shevchenko’s victory over Murphy, as well as her prior finish over former strawweight titleholder, Jessica Andrade back in April, the flyweight champion has been linked with — and has welcomed a future third fight with two-time rival, Nunes, in a bid to avenge her only promotional defeats.
Both Shevchenko and Nunes represent arguably the most dominant forces in their respective divisions at the time of publication, and despite dropping a pair of decision losses to the latter, albeit razor-thin close in the second of those bouts, Shevchenko has been donned as the most legitimate challenge to Nunes’ bantamweight title still.
White himself previously claimed that if fans continued to clamour for a third bout, or if Nunes toppled Pena this weekend, he would be open to making the pairing.
“The more hungry people get (for Nunes vs. Shevchenko III), the more they want to see it, the more it makes me want to make it,” White said. “If (Valentina) wins and Amanda (Nunes) beats (Julianna) Pena and they’re both into it, I’m interested in talking about it.“
Dana White now uninterested in Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko 3
However, ahead of Nunes’ bantamweight return on Saturday, White appears to have wholly changed his mind on the pairing, questioning why a third matchup would make sense.
“I don’t know if that fight needs to happen,” White told TSN reporter, Aaron Bronsteter. “I don’t know. I’ve thought a lot about it. You know, they’re both incredible in their own weight classes. They already fought twice. Why do it again?“
“I would imagine if they wanted to do it bad enough and fans wanted it bad enough, I would do it but I don’t see much point in it,” White explained.
White also noted that Nunes’ size advantage over Shevchenko gives the latter a true disadvantage.
“Here’s the thing that unfair for Valentina (Shevchenko) — Amanda Nunes is a lot bigger than her,” White said. “(135) and (145) pounds women she can fight. Valentina’s without a doubt the baddest woman in the world in her weight division and below. But to move up that much weight. Yeah, can she hang? Will it go to a split decision? It’s tough to call.” (Transcribed by MMA Fighting)