Valentina Shevchenko holding hope for Amanda Nunes trilogy: ‘I still plan to be around’

LAS VEGAS – Valentina Shevchenko hasn’t lost hope on a potential trilogy with Amanda Nunes.

Shevchenko (23-4 MMA, 12-3 UFC) will look to reclaim the women’s flyweight title when she rematches champion Alexa Grasso (16-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) Saturday in the main event of Noche UFC at T-Mobile Arena. The event streams on ESPN+.

Outside of her recent upset submission loss to Grasso, Shevchenko has only lost twice in the octagon, both to Nunes. Shevchenko is adamant she won their rematch at UFC 215, but the judges awarded Nunes the split decision win. With Nunes hanging up her gloves in June, Shevchenko had some nice words to say about her former rival.

“First of all, Amanda – she’s an amazing fighter,” Shevchenko told MMA Junkie and other reporters at Wednesday’s media day. “She did amazing things in this sport and I feel that many people, they’re kind of starting to judge a little bit, to say, ‘Oh she’s retired.’ But I want to say no one has the right to judge a fighter who did that much.”

After losing to Nunes (23-5 MMA, 16-2 UFC) a second time, Shevchenko returned to flyweight where she ruled the division for four years. Nunes continued to dominate bantamweight, but their paths never crossed again. Despite Nunes being retired, Shevchenko isn’t ruling out a rubber match.

“I think our second fight, she didn’t win,” Shevchenko said. “I think I won that fight. Many people think the same, and what I can say right now? If in the future sometime she feels like she rested, she refocused, she feels she wants to come back, I still plan to be around. We still will maybe have this opportunity.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Noche UFC.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie