UFC president Dana White believes former women’s strawweight champion Jessica Andrade will present the first real challenge for Valentina Shevchenko at flyweight.
Shevchenko has been a level above the competition at flyweight as she successfully defended her title for the fourth time following a dominant unanimous decision victory over Jennifer Maia in the UFC 255 co-headliner last night. She was notably a huge betting favorite going into the fight as she closed as high as a -2500 favorite.
The question then turned to who would be next for Shevchenko in addition to whether they can actually give her a challenge. As far as UFC president Dana White is concerned, that person is Andrade.
“I think Andrade vs. Shevchenko is a very fun fight, and the thing I love about that fight is that Shevchenko’s at a place in her career where she needs an opponent that people think actually has a chance of beating her, and I think we all know that Andrade does,” White said at the UFC 255 post-fight press conference (via MMA Fighting).
Andrade recently moved up to the flyweight division and marked her debut with an impressive TKO win over former title challenger Katlyn Chookagian last month.
With three knockouts in her last three wins, the Brazilian’s power stands out in particular for White. However, should Shevchenko get past her, there’s only one fight that makes sense and it isn’t a trilogy with Amanda Nunes.
“If you’re going to go out and be safe against somebody like Jennifer, what are you going to do against Andrade?” White added. “Andrade is going to bring her a lot of things she’s never seen before, not to mention the power Andrade has.
“She just knocked the No. 2 girl [Chookagian] in the world with a body shot. She’s a real problem for Shevchenko that [Shevchenko is] going to have to figure out, and if she does, I think the fight that makes more sense is, [Weili] Zhang will fight here soon, and after Weili fights, maybe you do those two.”
For now, Shevchenko vs. Andrade needs to take place first. And it’s something the latter has on her mind already.
“I think I can make a difference in this division,” Andrade said following her win over Chookagian. “I think I can put up a fight against Valentina. It’s something that should have happened already in other organizations, so I think I’m going to make a difference and put on shows in this division.”
Given Shevchenko’s dominance, it’s possible that is the fight that takes place next.
Do you think Andrade presents problems for Shevchenko?