In this three-part series, I will choose my top UFC women’s fighters of 2020, looking back over what they have achieved during the year. I will detail their fights and performances and explain why, in my opinion, they excelled during 2020. In third place is Valentina Shevchenko, who is also my Women’s UFC Champion of the Year 2020.
3rd: Valentina Shevchenko
2020: 2-0 – one TKO, one unanimous decision. Two title defenses. Now 9-2 in the UFC, 20-3 overall.
Age 32. Kyrgyzstani. Background in boxing, judo (black belt), kickboxing, Muay Thai, and taekwondo (second dan black belt). UFC flyweight champion and #2 women’s pound-for-pound fighter.
1: UFC 247 (February) – defeated Katlyn Chookagian by TKO due to elbows and punches 1:03 into the third round in the co-main event. In beating Chookagian, Shevchenko defended her title for the third time and handed her opponent her first stoppage loss and only the third defeat of her career.
Following this victory, Shevchenko was scheduled to fight Joanne Calderwood in June but had to pull out of the bout with a leg injury.
2: UFC 255 (November) – defeated Jennifer Maia by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46) in the co-main event, defending her flyweight title for the fourth time.
Now on a six-fight win streak, “Bullet” holds the records for most consecutive wins in the flyweight division with six and is also tied for the most wins in the division, again with six (along with Chookagian and Gillian Robertson).
Shevchenko has not lost a contest since September 2017, a close split decision loss in a rematch with Amanda Nunes for the bantamweight title at UFC 215. Nunes is the only person to defeat Shevchenko in the UFC, both by decision in the bantamweight division, and Shevchenko has made no secret of her desire to face the double champion again.
Whether the Nunes trilogy comes to fruition or not, Shevchenko has numerous challengers in the 125lbs division who believe they should receive the call to step up and fight for gold next. The champion has only dropped two rounds in the division so far, one against former strawweight champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk when Shevchenko won the vacant belt, and another in her most recent defense against Maia.
It will take a huge effort from the rest of the division to dethrone such a dominant champion.
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