After UFC 275, Is Valentina Shevchenko Now Considered The GOAT?
Going into UFC 275 this past weekend, the debate of the Greatest Of All-Time in Women’s MMA was really between Amanda Nunes and the Women’s Strawweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko. Her fight with Taila Santos ended with Shevchenko getting her hand raised, but many among the MMA community thought that Santos was robbed of a victory. Taking all this into consideration, should “Bullet” now be considered the GOAT? Well, that’s a little complicated. So let’s break it down and figure that out.
The Case For GOATness
On paper, the resume of Valentina Shevchenko is fantastic. Currently on a 9-fight win streak and has defended her Women’s Strawweight Championship 7 times in a row, which is now a UFC record, formerly held by Ronda Rousey. The women she has beaten is a who’s who of great fighters:
- Sarah Kaufman
- Holly Holm
- Julianna Pena
- Joanna Jedrzejczyk
- Jessica Eye
- Liz Carmouche (which avenged her first loss as a pro)
- Katlyn Chookagian
- Jennifer Maia
- Jessica Andrade
- Taila Santos
On this list alone, there are 4 former UFC champions and multiple current title contenders. What is impressive about this list as well is the manner in which she was winning these fights with 5 finishes and only one really close fight which was against Sarah Kaufman. Out of these fights have been some HELLISH highlights, including the vicious head kick KO of Holly Holm (If you have not seen it, please stop what you are doing and watch it).
Since 2017, Shevchenko has had three fights with less than 60% striking accuracy. For context, there are only 5 fighters in UFC history with a striking percentage over 60% as a career percentage. Shevchenko has two fights during this run that are over 90%! Her career striking percentage is 71.21%, which would place her first all-time, above the great Anderson Silva. Her takedown percentage is also out of this world at 74.35%. Her skill set is out of this world and her fight against Taila Santos was the most she has been pushed since Amanda Nunes. This leads me to the other side of the coin.
The Case Against GOATness
I have been on record many times before as having Amanda Nunes not only as the GOAT of Women’s MMA but maybe of MMA as a whole. Her submission loss to Julianna Pena this year maybe puts a damper on that, but can we really take the crown after one loss? Especially to someone who has two losses to Nunes on her record in Valentina Shevchenko? While Shevchenko has two more wins on her resume than Nunes, I could argue that the number of dominant performances might lean towards Nunes. Nunes only has one split decision on her record, whereas Shevchenko has 3, including a split decision loss to Nunes herself.
You also have to consider the jumping weight classes of Amanda Nunes. She was a two-division champion and would defend both belts without holding up divisions. I have thought for many years Valentina Shevchenko could easily make the jump down in division and claim that belt as well. A jump up in division would have her create a trilogy fight with Nunes, which might have to take place now seeing that Nunes is coming off a loss and “Bullet” should have lost her last one.
Both ladies have a fight on their record you could argue that they lost. In the case of Valentina Shevchenko, her fight against Taila Santos changed dramatically after the headbutt. There is a clear case to run that fight back. In my head, you first run the Santos-Shevchenko II fight, and if she makes it out of that you book Shevchenko-Nunes III and the winner of that fight gets the title of GOAT. I still have Amanda Nunes as the GOAT, but I can say that the debate might be a little closer than it has been in years past.
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