Valentina Anatolievna Shevchenko is a highly decorated professional mixed martial artist and former Muay Thai fighter, acclaimed for her striking abilities and dominance in the cage.
Born on March 7, 1988, in Frunze, Kirghiz SSR, Soviet Union, Valentina Shevchenko comes from a Russian-Ukrainian lineage. She identifies as Russian and speaks it as her primary language. Her family, originally from the Soviet Union, later obtained Kyrgyzstani citizenship. Valentina’s mother, Elena Shevchenko, not only heads Kyrgyzstan’s national Muay Thai association but is also a former champion in the sport. Her father, Anatoly Shevchenko, dedicated three years serving in the Soviet Navy’s Pacific Fleet during the Cold War and has also represented the Kyrgyzstan national football team.
Valentina’s passion for combat sports emerged early, inspired by her mother Elena and older sister, Antonina. She took up Taekwondo at just five years old. By twelve, she expanded her martial arts repertoire to include Muay Thai kickboxing and eventually freestyle Vale Tudo. Her kickboxing journey commenced in 2000, when at 12, she swiftly defeated an opponent nearly a decade older. This victory led her coach, Pavel Fedotov, to nickname her “Bullet” due to her remarkable speed. In 2007, Valentina, along with coach Fedotov and sister Antonina, moved to Peru to coach martial arts. She acquired Peruvian citizenship the following year. Besides her native Russian, she’s proficient in both English and Spanish.
Valentina’s journey into Muay Thai was nothing short of exceptional. Over the years, she not only became a seventeen-time Muay Thai and K-1 world champion but also solidified her reputation as one of the most formidable strikers in the world.
Between 2003 and 2015, Shevchenko secured victories in over 90 amateur and professional bouts across K-1, Muay Thai, and kickboxing, with ten of these wins achieved through technical knockout or knockout. In her illustrious kickboxing career, she faced defeat only twice: once in 2008 against Debby Urkens of WFCA, and again in 2015 against Cong Wang.
Throughout her participation in the IFMA world championships, Shevchenko clinched 8 gold medals in years ranging from 2003 to 2014, and she also triumphed in the IMFA Royal World Cup in 2015. Notably, among her numerous opponents, Shevchenko bested the future UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion, Joanna Jędrzejczyk, on three occasions and also defeated future UFC contender Lina Länsberg once. Such achievements have solidified Shevchenko’s reputation as one of the premier female Muay Thai fighters globally.
Her transition to mixed martial arts (MMA) was a natural progression. Valentina made her professional MMA debut in 2003 at just 15 years old. Over the years, she honed her skills, incorporating grappling techniques with her already impeccable striking abilities. This made her a multifaceted threat in the cage.
In 2015, Valentina entered the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the world’s premier MMA organization. Here, she faced the best fighters in her division, displaying her adaptability, resilience, and unmatched fighting IQ. Throughout her UFC journey, she became known for her precision, technique, and ability to dissect opponents with ease. She won the UFC Flyweight Championship and has defended her title multiple times, showcasing her supremacy in the division.
While her MMA career took center stage, Valentina never lost touch with her Muay Thai roots. She often emphasized the importance of her Muay Thai training in her MMA successes and credited much of her striking prowess to her extensive background in the sport.
Valentina’s pursuits aren’t limited to the ring. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Film Directing from the National Academy of Arts of the Kyrgyz Republic. In recognition of her accomplishments, the academy bestowed upon her the title of Honored Professor in December 2021.
Her contributions to her profession haven’t gone unnoticed in her homeland. In April 2019, Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov honored Valentina with the Dank Order during her first visit to Kyrgyzstan in nearly a decade. During the ceremony, Jeenbekov commended Valentina for upholding and promoting the pride of Kyrgyzstan through her endeavors. Notably, Valentina and her sister, Antonina, etched their names in the UFC records by becoming the inaugural sister duo to compete on the same UFC 255 fight card.
Shevchenko, an accomplished kickboxer, is widely acclaimed for her meticulous counter-striking abilities. She has an innate talent for assessing the distance of an adversary’s move and subsequently deploying a range of countermeasures. In 2017, she shed light on mastering this approach in mixed martial arts, explaining the variance in facing a wrestler compared to a stand-up combatant, emphasizing the distinct nature of gauging the reach of their punches.
Upon skillfully evading an incoming strike, Shevchenko typically responds with swift maneuvers like a right hook, a spinning back fist, or a spinning wheel kick. When on the offensive front, she frequently deploys forward right hooks and dual-punch combos. A staple in her arsenal is the outside leg kick, often unleashed after a rapid sequence of moves or early in a round.
Beyond her striking prowess, Shevchenko boasts formidable grappling capabilities, further complemented by her black belt in Judo. This expertise is evident from her multiple takedowns, as seen against Holly Holm and Jéssica Andrade, and her submission victories with techniques like the armbar against Julianna Peña and the rear-naked choke against Priscila Cachoeira.
Shevchenko’s estimated net worth is estimated around $5 million, with her income sources not just from her fights but also from endorsements, sponsorships, and other ventures. Being a top-tier athlete in the UFC undoubtedly comes with lucrative paydays, especially for champions and high-profile fighters like Valentina. Additionally, she has dabbled in acting, appearing in the 2020 movie “Bruised,” further diversifying her income streams.
Valentina’s list of achievements is extensive, indicative of her dedication and skill set:.
Valentina Shevchenko is active on various social media platforms, where she engages with her fans, shares insights into her training regime, and provides glimpses of her personal life.