Something that has helped Valentina Shevchenko to position herself as one of the best fighters on the UFC female roster is her professionalism.
Shevchenko’s always prepared to the maximum of her abilities, hoping to control as much as possible until the moment she enters the Octagon and chaos is unleashed.
On Feb. 3 Shevchenko will make her 125-pound debut at UFC Belem against unbeaten newcomer Priscila Cachoeira. To Shevchenko, the weight is no difference. She even has already practiced a first weight cut and performance.
"I don’t like surprises," Shevchenko said in Houston, Texas, where she has been training the last few months before traveling to Dubai where she will corner her sister, Antonina Shevchenko, for her third MMA bout.
"I haven’t fought in 125 for a long time,” Shevchenko continues. “So (the practice cut) was to know how I'm going to feel, how the performance will be and to have time to analyze, study and prepare for my fight in the best way."
What ended up being a surprise, even for her, was the simplicity of the cut. "It was very easy,” Shevchenko said. “I thought it would cost me more work but I didn’t make much effort.
“Also, when I competed in 125 pounds it was at Muay Thai world championships. I fought four times in a week sometimes and kept the weight all that week. This is a situation of greater advantage."
I fought four times in a week sometimes and kept the weight all that week. This is a situation of greater advantage
On how she felt at 125 pounds, Shevchenko said: "Full speed, same strength or maybe more, I felt complete after the sparring we did."
Shevchenko hasn’t stopped training, she did a full camp helping her sister and she will perfect the strategy for Cachoeira once she gets back from Dubai.
"My opponent has a good jaw. She can take a punch and always goes forward,” Shevchenko said of Cachoeira. “She has heavy hands and she will also be at home, but it does not matter. I will be in my best shape to give 100 percent and win the fight."
And despite facing the local, Shevchenko doesn’t rule out some of her Peruvian fans making the trip to the north of Brazil.
"The news was barely heard and many began to write me on social networks saying they will travel to support me. Hopefully I’ll see many there."