Valentina Shevchenko’s Unparalleled Superiority
By James Lee
As excitement swiftly intensifies towards the UFC’s International Fight Week, a featherweight title fight, and the return of Nick Diaz, few are focusing on Valentina Shevchenko: the most dominant champion in the sport at present, and maybe ever.
Albeit controversial, Shevchenko has progressively demonstrated her dominance and traits that very few in history have mastered as she has.
For example, the greatest asset to obtain in licensed combat is being able to control the decontrolling of emotional controls. Being that the sport’s popularity is solely tension-based, its uncontrollable environment makes the unforeseen likely. Devaluing such physical and mental fragmentation in a combat arena is onerous. As millions have walked to a combat arena, very few have wholly adapted to the caged environment positively. A competitor that can break the mould of the unexpected acquires greatness, yet the execution of that is rare.
UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko has accomplished that, however. The Kyrgyzstan-native shines in chaos. Any notion of doubt is combated by her poised nature, triumph is becoming an increasing formality.
The new era of unprecedented eminence latched onto the sport in June 2019 when Shevchenko leant against the back of the cage, her eyes solely focused on the unconscious Jessica Eye, whom she had just dismantled in under six minutes.
The thud of her left high kick at UFC 238 was heard around the world, but the perpetrator was the quietest in Chicago’s United Center. Assassin-like as Joe Rogan described her. An assassin with years of experience, fighting in multiple different disciplines across the globe.
As President Dana White entered the cage to congratulate the defending champion, Shevchenko gave him a bow. A bow signalling another defeat. Another ease to victory. Like a mobster to a boss. Just a job; little attached. No follow-up strike necessary. Just a clean demolition and merciful skip away.
Her previous inaugural title victory over former strawweight champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk began her championship triumph that has been extended by five title defences since, with her latest showcase similarly dominant against another former strawweight champion in Brazilian Jessica Andrade.
This Saturday’s opponent is Lauren Murphy; a flyweight mainstay since its creation, who has earnestly deserved her shot at gold. There is very little chance she leaves Las Vegas with one of the biggest upsets in combat history, however. That is not indicative of Murphy’s ability though. It is more symbolic of the fact that Valentina Shevchenko is the most dominant champion in the sport, and probably ever.
Very few have been able to amass such formality like she has. Even great champions Khabib Nurmagomedov, Georges St-Pierre, and Anderson Silva had their careers filled with doubt and speculation, but Shevchenko does not. The fans know the outcome of her fights, just not when or how, mainly because she can decide either way.
As such, she is an anomaly in the UFC today, being a champion so dominant that her inside-the-cage antics is all that amounts attention, with an end to this period of dominance being difficult to foreshadow.
Eventually a shocking loss of her flyweight title may come, but until then, the fighting world should begin to appreciate a period of dominance they are witnessing that will span well beyond this weekend.
Photo Credit: Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports