As soon as Valentina Shevchenko successfully defended her UFC flyweight title for the fourth time with a unanimous decision over Jennifer Maia on November 21, she hit the road.
Just don’t call it a vacation.
“I don’t like when people say, ‘Oh, Valentina, you’re on vacation, enjoy your vacation,’ because travel is not my vacation,” she said. “I’m not stopping my training. I’ll train one day, rest the next, no matter what. I know what I have to do. I have to keep my body in shape. I can rest mentally, and to travel doesn’t mean this is my vacation. It’s my lifestyle and I want to show that you can do whatever you want; you just have to know how to manage things and make them work. There are no limits. Everything can be connected. And this is what I want to show in my lifestyle. You can be whatever you wish, and you can do whatever you want. It just has to bring something very positive and some good energy. If you’re surrounded by good and positive energy, it will push you to a high level. And this is the most important thing, to be happy and enjoy.”
We could end the story right there and it would have enough knowledge in it from the Kyrgyzstan native to last us well into the New Year. Maybe that’s why she’s on top of her game at 32, a dominant world champion with the hunger to stay on top for as long as she chooses to. There are no specific seasons or training camps for “Bullet.” Sure, things get a little more intense when a fight is approaching, but fighting and martial arts is a way of life for her and has been since she was five years old.
“It’s definitely the secret, but you can hear it a hundred times, a million times, but before you really understand what it is, it will never work for you,” she said. “My experience, what I have in martial arts, is so deep, and it’s not only my experience, but I listen a lot. I listen to my coach and what his experience is. (Coach) Pavel (Fedotov) has so many years in martial arts, so many different types of martial arts, and of course his experience means a lot for me and it brings a lot to my experience. Martial arts is my life and I don’t need one typical thing to say this is what motivates me. I don’t need it because martial arts by itself is self-motivating. This lifestyle I have – train, travel and exploring something new every time, meeting different people, sharing some experience with them and listening to them, I think it’s something that also gives me a lot of motivation.”
So about that trip…