Despite initially appearing reluctant to make a third pairing between the two, UFC president, Dana White seems to be more and more receptive to booking a trilogy matchup between two-weight champion, Amanda ‘The Lioness’ Nunes and flyweight queen, Valentina ‘Bullet’ Shevchenko should the two continue to run roughshod through their respective divisions.
Initially meeting back at UFC 196 in a non-title bout, Shevchenko suffered her first Octagon loss when pitted with Nunes, before scoring a title rematch with the Brazilian in September 2017.
Headlining UFC 215 in a bantamweight title showdown, Shevchenko battled over the course of five rounds with the Bahia native, once more dropping a judging loss, this time a close split decision defeat — with the mixed martial arts community largely torn between the victor of the bout.
In the time since, Kyrgyzstan native, Shevchenko has dominated the flyweight division, clinching the undisputed title and lodging five successful title defenses, and meets with the surging, Lauren Murphy this weekend at UFC 266.
For Nunes, the Brazilian is the promotion’s undisputed bantamweight and featherweight champion, successfully lodging a staggering further six victories in the time since her UFC 215 title defense against Shevchenko.
With the pair continuously proving themselves as distinct pack leaders in their division in each of their successful title knockbacks, fans have clamored for a third matchup between the two. However, promotional leader, White has maintained that the duo should carry forward with their own respective legacies.
Speaking with TSN reporter, Aaron Bronsteter ahead of UFC 266, White has changed his tune on a third bout between Shevchenko and Nunes, claiming that he would be “interested” in pairing the two for a third time, especially if Nunes overcomes challenger, Julianna Pena in December at UFC 269.
“The more hungry people get (for Nunes vs. Shevchenko III), the more they want to see it, the more it makes me want to make it,” White said. “If (Valentina) wins and Amanda (Nunes) beats (Julianna) Pena and they’re both into it, I’m interested in talking about it.“
As recent as May, off the back of her dominant ground strikes stoppage win over former strawweight champion, Jessica Andrade, Shevchenko expressed her interest in a matchup with Nunes again, claiming that a third fight was “inevitable“.
“I just feel like it’s going to happen,” Shevchenko told MMA Fighting. “Without putting all this pressure to someone, Ok, let’s do it all now. It’s like everything good in a good time. That’s why it’s going to happen, I know for sure. Probably when time is perfect time for this fight. It’s going to happen. It’s like I cannot force someone like, Ok, let’s go fight me. If someone don’t want to fight, to have this fight, no one can force no one.“
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