Valentina Shevchenko (red gloves) fights Liz Carmouche (blue gloves).
Valentina Shevchenko lands a punch on Liz Carmouche. Photo coutesy of Jason Da Silva USA Today Sports

One of the toughest female fighters walking the Earth today is Valentina Schevchenko. Schevchenko  has gone toe to toe with some of the best female fighters of all time including Amanda Nunes, Holly Holm, and Joanna Jędrzejczyk. Schevchenko is currently the women’s flyweight champion and she is set to defend her title at UFC 266 against Lauren Murphy. Schevchenko is the first woman to have defended the UFC Flyweight Championship belt. 

Schevchenko is of Ukrainian descent, but classifies herself as Russian. She was born on March 7, 1988, in Frunze, Kirghizia, USSR. After the fall of the Soviet Union Kirghizia became Kyrgyzstan where Schevchenko has citizenship in Kyrgyzstan. Schevchenko came from a very athletic family; her mother was a multiple time Muay Thai champion.  Her mother was also the president of Kyrgyzstan’s national Muay Thai association.  Schevchenko’s father was a soccer player and played on the  Kyrgiz national Soccer team. Schevchenko’s sister, Antonina Shevchenko is a fellow UFC fighter. 

Schevchenko’s life has been centered around Martial Arts from the young age of five, when she started Taekwondo. She took up the sport as it was a family activity that involved both her, her mother, and her sister. At age 12 she switched to Muay Thai kickboxing and freestyle Brazilian Vale Tudo. It was at this time that she got her nickname “Bullet” because of the speed she moved around the ring at. At 15 she made her professional debut in Kickboxing, Muay Thai, and MMA. From the age of 15 through 2015 Schevchenko won 50 Muay Thai and Kickboxing matches.

Schevchenko took a hiatus from her MMA career between 2006-2010 to focus on her Muay Thai and Kickboxing career. Schevchenko eventually started fighting in MMA again which led her to the UFC, where she first fought in the year 2015. Her first fight for the promotion was  as a replacement for Germaine de Randamie against Sarah Kaufman on short notice. She would win by split decision. She would then go on to face some of the best names in the UFC including Amanda Nunes, Holly Holm, and Joanna Jędrzejczyk. She lost to Amanda Nunes both times, but the second fight was so close and a split decision, that many in the fight world have called for a third fight between Nunes and Schevchenko.

On December 8th, 2018  Shevchenko won the vacant women’s flyweight title against Joanna Jędrzejczyk by unanimous decision. Since then Shevchenko has defended her title 6 times and hopes to defend it again next time out. 




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