Valentina Shevchenko doesn’t expect to be out for long.
The former UFC women’s flyweight champion suffered a fracture on her right hand in her championship rematch against Alexa Grasso in the main event of last Saturday’s Noche UFC at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Shevchenko expects to get surgery next week in Las Vegas or Los Angeles and wants to get going with her recovery.
“Right now we’re speaking about scheduling it next week and I hope to have it the sooner, the better for me because the sooner I have the surgery, the sooner the recovery will start and the sooner I come back to the action,” Shevchenko told MiddleEasy.
Shevchenko (23-5 MMA, 12-4 UFC) and Grasso (17-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) fought to a split draw at Noche UFC. Prior to that, they fought in March where Grasso submitted Shevchenko, ending her historic reign at 125 pounds. UFC CEO Dana White recently said a trilogy bout can be expected next for both fighters.
Shevchenko says the hand will take less than a couple of months to recover from surgery, and she should be fully fit to fight Grasso again sometime in the early part of 2024.
“My understanding is like two or six weeks, something like that, in a cast, but I still can do exercise and maintain my shape just no hand,” Shevchenko said. “After that, it’s going to be recovery and as I’m told, three or four months in full action, so it doesn’t sound that scary.”
Although Shevchenko is confident she’ll be back fully fit soon enough, there’s always a possibility of complications with a recovery from surgery along the way.
The 35-year-old is staying positive, but if something does lengthen her recovery, she would be fine with Grasso fighting against another challenger as she recovers.
“My understanding that no matter what happens, my next fight is going to be for the title, definitely,” Shevchenko said. “It’s what it has to be and what it should be. But if something happens and (my recovery) is longer, I don’t want to hold the division.
“I don’t want to say, ‘No, you have to wait for me.’ If I were in that position, it would be backwards. I wouldn’t want to feel that. I wouldn’t want to stay and sit when I could fight, and I could use my time as a fighter. We as fighters could have a long time or a short time in fighting life. Me being on the other side, I wouldn’t want to be in that situation. That’s why I don’t want her to feel in the position that she can move, but she has to stay and sit and do nothing. Let’s hope I heal up very quickly, and we do the trilogy fight next.”