The UFC women’s flyweight division is now wide open.
Initially, inaugural women’s 125-pound champion Nicco Montano was to defend her title against Valentina Shevchenko in the co-main event of UFC 228. Unfortunately, Montano was hospitalized for a bad weight-cut and was removed from the card. She was subsequently stripped of the title.
UFC President Dana White has announced Shevchenko will get the first crack at fighting for the vacant belt. Her opponent has yet to be determined, but UFC fans have a pretty good idea of who’s in mind.
Former UFC 115-pound champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk has some history with Shevchenko. She was defeated by “The Bullet” in Muay Thai competition several times before. “JJ” would be an excellent choice to fight Shevchenko for the vacant strap.
This might be unsettling to current 125-pound competitors. The fact that the title opportunity could go to someone not even in the division is an upsetting one. Jedrzejczyk tells Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show she believes they’re simply “jealous” (quotes via MMA Mania):
“I’m so sorry, don’t be jealous. There are not so many dedicated fighters like me and not that many with that big legacy,” she said.
“I am always willing to fight and UFC knows this. I was supposed to take a long break, but I don’t know if that will happen now. Like I said, I am always open to move up and fight for the belt against Shevchenko.”
Jedrzejczyk said she has yet to be officially offered the fight, but if it happens, she’s confident it’ll happen this year:
“I cannot say yes, I cannot say no…There’s a big chance that this happens…If this fight is going to happen it’s going to happen this year,” she added.