After mixed martial arts pundits described UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko as the “most dominant” in the world, her male counterpart – UFC men’s flyweight champ Henry Cejudo – challenged her to throw down.
Shevchenko recently defeated Liz Carmouche in a five-round decision at “UFC Fight Night 156.” The Kyrgyzstani fighter’s performance prompted some MMA insiders, such as ESPN journalist Ariel Helwani, to label her the most dominant champ in the game.
Fight goes the distance. Never in doubt. Shevchenko will get the nod. This is why I said last week she is the most dominant champ right now. The gap between her and the rest of the contenders is extremely wide.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) August 11, 2019
In a video tweeted by Cejudo on Sunday, the man known as “Triple C” expressed his consternation on learning that commentators were heralding Shevchenko as “
The 2008 Olympic gold medalist in freestyle wrestling proceeded to call out Shevchenko.
— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) August 11, 2019
Shevchenko did not shy away from the challenge.
In an interview with Helwani posted Monday to the ESPN MMA Twitter account, the “Bullet” cautioned Cejudo to “be careful what” he wished for.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) August 12, 2019
UFC president Dana White addressed the developments while speaking to reporters on Tuesday.
“That’s the wackiest shit I’ve ever heard in my life,” White said. “It’s just f*cking crazy that he would even say that. But Valentina would probably do it. I don’t even know how to respond to that or what to say other than ‘Wow.’”
Henry Cejudo, Valentina Shevchenko and the battle of the sexes
At least since women’s tennis legend Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in a 1973 exhibition match, the subject of how female athletes measure up to men has fascinated the public imagination.
The topic returned with a vengeance when Ronda Rousey, one of the most dominant women champions in UFC history, said in 2015 that she “could beat 100 percent” of the men in her weight class.
In recent years, the feminist thrust underpinning such debates has moved front and center.
Just this year, debates flared over whether the World Cup-winning U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team is better than their male counterparts.
Some onlookers even suggested that the women’s team’s purported superiority was evidence of so-called “gender-pay discrimination.”
1) She is not paid as much as her male counterparts, despite being better, and far more popular than the men’s team
2) This administration banned pride flags at US embassies, which the Vice President said was the “right decision.”
Can you blame her? https://t.co/ZIW7zJuWwh
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) June 13, 2019
There were counterarguments, though. Some social media users recalled the U.S. Women’s National Team’s blowout loss in 2017 to an FC Dallas club team whose players were aged 14 and 15. The final score was 5-2.