Las Vegas, NV — Undisputed UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko earned her sixth consecutive title defense at UFC 266.
This time, the win came against Lauren Murphy, a fourth-round TKO in a one-sided fight. There were no surprises, the champ said following the bout. And with the victory, “Bullet” inched closer to becoming an untouchable figure in the weight class.
“My ultimate goal as a martial artist is to reach the level where, your opponents, when fighting each other, they look furious, powerful, very strong,” Shevchenko (22-3) told media outlets including Cageside Press following the event. “But when they fight me, it’s kind of like, they cannot touch you, but you can finish them. It’s kind of like, what I want to be as a martial artist is untouchable. This is next level as a martial artist.”
Asked whether she thought she had achieved that on Saturday, Shevchenko responded by saying “I’m on my way.”
While Valentina Shevchenko did indeed look untouchable at UFC 266, with Murphy offering little in the way of resistance to the established champ, the fight was at times met with a chorus of boos. Not in the end, of course, but the crowd seemed impatient, awaiting what they hoped would be an explosive finish.
The expectations are not something Shevchenko feels she needs to live up to. “No, it’s not, because I understand. If I’m going to think about it, then it’s going to effect me during the fight, it’s going to effect my performance. And sometimes it can effect [my performance] not in the best way,” she explained. “You’re going to rush to do something, and this is a mistake. So I learned that I cannot just follow with the boos from the crowd. I just have to do my thing, because eventually the finish is going to come. They just have to wait.”
Shevchenko will now turn her focus to her sister, Antonina Shevchenko, who fights on next weekend’s UFC card. After that, “I don’t know what’s next. Because I’m ready to fight tomorrow, but what the UFC has for me, it’s different.”
One of the truly intriguing fighters under the UFC banner, Shevchenko is a world traveler who represent multiple nations, speaks three languages, and is learning a fourth. She delved into that Saturday following her most recent win.
“Every single country where I live, when I travel, it takes a special place in my heart. In Peru, in Latin America, I lived for eight years, and definitely the culture is very close to me. I grew up in Kyrgyzstan, a very beautiful mountain country, and very deep in traditions. I respect all countries traditions, and culture, people,” she stated. The goal, she continued, is to “experience more from my travel, to know— not just come there, take a picture, and say ‘okay, I’ve been in this country’ — that’s okay, but I want to really know how it’s like there. What people think, and how they live, what they eat. I think this is the best, the best school of life.”
Watch the full UFC 266 post-fight press conference with Valentina Shevchenko above. More coverage of the event can be found below.