Valentina Shevchenko believes no one can blame Joanne Calderwood for passing up her title shot to take on Jennifer Maia on short notice.

In August, Maia was set to battle, Viviane Araujo. Yet, Araujo tested positive for COVID-19 and put of nowhere, Calderwood decided to take the fight on short notice despite having the next title shot. For the champion in Shevchenko, she says it was something Calderwood wanted so no one can blame her for taking it.

“It’s hard to understand someone’s decision. You never know,” Shevchenko said to MMAFighting about Calderwood taking a fight rather than sitting and waiting for a title shot. “Probably she was like she needed this fight, she needed to be active. No one can judge her for this because this is what I feel for myself. I need to be active. I want to fight.

“Of course, it’s something she wanted to do so it was something she wanted to do. No one can blame her. She didn’t know, she expected that she was going to win the fight, get the money and have another fight in November.”

In the fight, Maia surprised a lot of people by pulling off the first-round submission. For Valentina Shevchenko, she believes Calderwood wasn’t there mentally in the fight.

“This is MMA. This is mixed martial arts. You never know what’s going to happen,” Shevchenko said. “Jennifer, she was preparing for the fight like it was her last fight in her whole life. You could see it in her eyes. She was hungry for the victory. Jojo, I don’t know, my opinion, she was kind of like not there probably.

“Sometimes it happens with fighters. It doesn’t matter how you are preparing, how good you had a training camp, sometimes this happens. I don’t know if it’s psychology or something else but it happens. But things changed.”

Following Maia’s win, she will now be the one to fight Valentina Shevchenko later this year. So, the champion is ready for the fight to happen at UFC 255 and look to defend her belt again.

“Now I have another opponent for my fight, Jennifer Maia, and I’m good with that,” Shevchenko said. “For me, it doesn’t really matter who is going to be in front of me. I’m going to be prepared the best way I can. But what I want, my opponent is going to be a good one, the best one and they fight with the best version of themselves.”

Do you think Valentina Shevchenko will beat Joanne Calderwood?