Amanda Nunes may have moved on from the idea of a trilogy fight against Valentina Shevchenko, but her longtime rival is still hungry for the challenge.
Nunes threw cold water on a third Shevchenko fight this week. The UFC women's bantamweight and featherweight champion told reporters at UFC 289 media day the trilogy fight "don't sell nothing" and that Shevchenko "has a lot of holes" in her game. Shevchenko took exception to Nunes downplaying her skills.
"I think this fight is still going to happen," Shevchenko told CBS Sports. "The number one step is taking my belt back.
"I can definitely say the same thing about her fight with Julianna Pena. I feel like she's trying to put everyone down and take away the respect they deserve. I feel it's not good. Being a professional, being a martial artist, you have to give credit to everyone. Seeing things like this just shows what kind of person she is. She's not a good person it looks like."
Check out the full interview with Valentina Shevchenko below.
The path to Nunes runs through UFC women's flyweight champion Alexa Grasso. Shevchenko lost her title and nine-fight winning streak in a stunning submission loss to Grasso at UFC 285 in March. Shevchenko is champing at the bit for a rematch. The all-time great appears hungrier than ever and expressed how her longtime status as champion got to her head despite her efforts to stay focused.
"Being the champion for a long time, you get used to it," Shevchenko said. "Everyone is saying you're the greatest and you're the best. You take it even if you don't want to listen. Your brain takes it. Now it's back to the roots. Back to how you started. To be fierce and angry like you were at the beginning. They can study me all day long. All year long. They will actually take nothing from that. Yes, she can repeat a sequence and take a chance opportunity, but I won't give her any chances in our next fight."
Shevchenko did not have a firm date for the Grasso rematch but said she'd like to fight as soon as possible. Nunes will defend her bantamweight title against Irene Aldana in the main event of UFC 289 on Saturday.