Erin Blanchfield now considers herself the de facto No. 1 contender within the ladies’s flyweight division, and he or she’s anxiously awaiting the subsequent title battle between Valentina Shevchenko and Alexa Grasso at UFC 285.
Following a dominant win over Jessica Andrade at UFC Vegas 69, Blanchfield rocketed up MMA Fighting’s flyweight rankings, with solely the champion left forward of her. Whereas Shevchenko nonetheless has to deal with enterprise with Grasso on March 4, Blanchfield will likely be ready within the wings to problem the winner.
“I feel this battle put me proper in line for the subsequent title shot,” Blanchfield mentioned on The MMA Hour. “Taila [Santos] was speculated to battle me and he or she pulled out on the final minute after which Manon [Fiorot] is damage for some time. Valentina and Grasso are actually combating in per week and a half or so. Having me battle for the title subsequent simply is smart.
“I undoubtedly do [think I’m ready],” she added. “I’ve constructed up somewhat little bit of expertise within the UFC. I do know the place my ability is at and I do know if I’ve a full coaching camp and I break down whoever I’ll be combating for that title, I’ll beat anyone.”
Blanchfield has repeatedly mentioned she needs to be the individual to dethrone Shevchenko, who’s at the moment the longest-reigning champion on your entire UFC roster, getting ready to defend her title for the eighth consecutive time.
Some have prompt that Shevchenko is beginning to lose a step, particularly after going to a break up resolution with Taila Santos in her earlier outing, however Blanchfield doesn’t imagine that’s truly the case.
“I feel persons are undoubtedly making somewhat bit a lot of it,” Blanchfield mentioned. “I don’t know if she’s on the decline. I feel it was simply that Taila had an excellent fashion in opposition to Valentina. She’s most likely one of the best grappler that Valentina had fought, and he or she’s only a bodily massive lady. I feel she was greater than Valentina in there, so it was simpler for her to impose her will on her somewhat bit.
“I don’t essentially suppose she’s on the decline. I simply suppose it’s displaying somewhat little bit of the holes she does have. Taila simply did good job of utilizing that to her benefit. I don’t suppose you’ll see the same battle with Grasso as a result of Grasso simply doesn’t have that fashion or that dimension to place Valentina. You’ll most likely see one thing just like her older fights.”
Maybe probably the most attention-grabbing half about her evaluation is Shevchenko’s perceived weak spot on the bottom would possibly play straight into what Blanchfield does finest.
The 23-year-old fighter from New Jersey has displayed an extremely dominant grappling sport with three submission wins within the UFC, together with finishes over Andrade and Molly McCann in her previous two appearances.
“Valentina, I don’t suppose it’s any secret her placing is superb,” Blanchfield defined. “Her Muay Thai may be very crisp. She even has some first rate physique lock takedowns. However I feel on the precise ground, her jiu-jitsu, it’s not dangerous. It’s simply very, very primary.
“I don’t suppose she has many submissions. I don’t suppose she will be able to get out of sure positions very effectively, like what we noticed in opposition to Taila. I sort of suppose that’s the place her sport is probably the most primary and doubtless might use some enchancment.”
Whereas Shevchenko truly has a number of submission wins and finishes on the bottom throughout her UFC profession, Blanchfield nonetheless likes her probabilities in these positions.
After all, Blanchfield gained’t draw back from participating with Shevchenko wherever the battle would possibly take them, however she’s effectively conscious of her biggest benefit in that potential battle.
“I do know I might battle with Valentina wherever, however in opposition to anyone within the flyweight division, I do know that my jiu-jitsu is best,” Blanchfield mentioned. “I can end anyone.”
Because it stands, Blanchfield doesn’t know if she’ll be cageside for UFC 285 in Las Vegas, though she likes the thought of sitting proper there to look at Shevchenko and Grasso go to warfare.
Clearly, Blanchfield already believes she’s subsequent in line if Shevchenko wins, and ideally that will permit her the chance to develop into one of many youngest champions in UFC historical past.
“I plan on it,” Blanchfield mentioned. “If I get that title shot subsequent, sure undoubtedly [I will be champion].”