Valentina Shevchenko is a person that knows the UFC bantamweight and featherweight champions very well. Julianna Pena and Amanda Nunes have both faced the flyweight champion in the past with mixed success.
When talking about the fight from UFC 269, Valentina Shevchenko saw a different version of Amanda Nunes. She felt the champion was not in the same shape against Julianna Pena.
“(I) Didn’t see Amanda in the same fight shape as she used to be,” Shevchenko said on a recent episode of The MMA Hour, “For example, when we fought together, she was completely different. For Julianna’s fight, she was a little bit more relaxed. I don’t know how she prepared for this fight, but she looked differently.”
Valentina Shevchenko knows what being dominant can do to you as a competitor and saw the problems it caused Amanda Nunes at UFC 269. A lot of being a champion is in the mentality you bring to every fight.
“I know exactly for being dominant, you have to be very careful and respectful and prepared to fight in this hunger mode,” said Shevchenko before turning her thoughts toward her own dominant run at the top of the 125-pound weight class. “This is something I’m trying to avoid in my career, in my preparation in everything. That’s why what happened with them because they had very big mind games and it’s nothing that I have to worry about. I have to worry about exactly what I have in my mind in this moment. This is the most important for me and what happened with them? It’s like, whatever.“
The two UFC champions are set to clash in a huge rematch this summer as Amanda Nunes will look to become bantamweight champion again. Valentina Shevchenko wants to see how much Julianna Pena's mentality has changed.
“It depends on what mental shape they’re going to be in. I would say from Julianna Pena, from one side, she’s now champion, a lot more attention, she’s receiving all this attention and she wants to be showed up and that can affect your mental preparation, but in the same time, Amanda, we don’t know what is going on, like maybe family, maybe whatever, so it can also be a point of preparation,” Shevchenko said.
“I would say, if they are both going to be very ready for the fight, want to fight, want to be in the fight, I would say Amanda would take very much,” Shevchenko said.