As a third Dan black belt in Taekwondo and the president of the Kyrgyzstan Muay Thai Federation, Elena Shevchenko had no hesitation beginning her daughters, Antonina and Valentina, in martial arts as children. However greater than 20 years later, she in all probability couldn’t have imagined that she would haven’t one, however each daughters on the UFC roster.

So it was a fairly big day on June 26 when Antonina stopped Jaimee Nievera in two rounds on Dana White’s Tuesday Evening Contender Collection and earned a UFC contract, becoming a member of Valentina – the primary flyweight contender – on the promotion’s roster.

“She’s very completely happy to know that I gained the battle within the Contender Collection and to know that I bought a UFC contract,” stated Antonina. “She now has each her daughters within the UFC, combating at the very best degree of combined martial arts on the planet. She stated she’s happy with us.”

It was virtually inevitable that the Shevchenko sisters would get thus far as quickly as they each transitioned from Muay Thai to MMA.

First, it was Valentina, who made her Octagon debut in 2015 and rapidly established herself as an elite bantamweight, almost taking the title from Amanda Nunes final September. Then it was off to flyweight for “Bullet,” who earned a September shot at Nicco Montano’s flyweight crown after submitting Priscila Cachoeira in February.

In June, it was Antonina’s flip, and as she improved her professional MMA document to 6-Zero with the TKO of Nievera, she had a sense it was going to be a household reunion within the UFC.

“I bought a end within the second spherical, so I used to be fairly certain about getting the contract,” she stated.

But there was little time for celebration within the Shevchenko camp, as Valentina has a title battle to prepare for, which means Antonina is true by her little sister’s facet. And provided that reality, Shevchenko was greater than keen to leap in for a battle in Dallas that evening.

“We truly requested if I might battle September eight when Valentina shall be combating for the title, however there was too little time so I did not get the battle on the identical card this time,” she stated. “However hopefully, sooner or later, we’ll battle on the identical card. It is the identical coaching camp and we’re each doing the identical factor, however solely one among us is combating. The opposite is simply serving to. If we have been combating on the identical card, we’d have the identical coaching camp, similar evening of combating, and similar relaxation time.”

It wouldn’t be the primary time they’ve competed on the identical card.

“Earlier than Valentina signed with UFC, we virtually all the time fought in the identical championships,” she stated. “So within the Muay Thai championships, we fought at completely different weights, typically on the identical day. It was a standard factor for us. And after Valentina signed with UFC, we began to have completely different competitions. However now we’re once more collectively.”

And whereas some siblings discover it tough to battle on the identical card, that’s by no means been a problem for Staff Shevchenko.

“After we fought the identical day, I used to be busy about my battle, she was busy about her battle,” she stated. “Once I battle, I can’t take into consideration her combating. In fact if I used to be already performed with my battle, I can take into consideration her battle. However I’ve to consider me and my battle.”

With seemingly limitless Muay Thai titles between them, it was in all probability a very good evening for the sisters most of the time. That’s what occurs whenever you combine expertise, dedication, expertise and a love of the sport collectively. And for Antonina, the love often is the key ingredient on this stew.

“Martial arts is my complete life,” she stated. “It is what I really like, it is my ardour, it is all the pieces for me. I began to coach once I was seven years previous, and I am greater than 20 years in it. I can’t think about my life with out it. As an expert fighter, I wish to do it so long as I can. And once I will not be an expert fighter, my life will nonetheless be in martial arts in some completely different approach.

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“In fact, when you’ve got the love for one thing, you can be good in it,” Shevchenko continues. “This factor that you just love, you’ll spend all of your time with it, and you’ll get higher and higher with extra time in it. And martial arts is similar. And it is all the pieces about martial arts. It is not solely combating and coaching, it is all the pieces, due to martial arts you could have completely different, attention-grabbing travels, and in these travels you meet completely different, attention-grabbing individuals. You additionally see how they reside and what traditions they’ve.”

“La Pantera” has seen quite a bit in her 33 years, however now she’s going to see much more as a UFC fighter. However will she miss Muay Thai?

“I’ll nonetheless be coaching my standup, after all, however I cannot be competing,” she stated. “I really like Muay Thai and this model very a lot and I fought quite a bit in it, however I believe UFC is the subsequent step and the subsequent massive problem for me, and it is very attention-grabbing additionally. Blended martial arts is probably the most full and best model in all martial arts. That is why I shall be doing it full-time. There’s plenty of stuff to coach and observe to evolve my method, so I believe I shall be busy and it is going to be a pleasure to battle in MMA.”

Able to battle as quickly as potential, Shevchenko is one other thrilling addition to the rising ladies’s flyweight class, however contemplating that her sister might very nicely be the champion of that division ought to she beat Montano subsequent month, it needs to be requested what Antonina’s preliminary objectives are within the UFC.

“The aim is the belt,” she stated with out hesitation. “I wish to be the champion on this group. It is a tough path, however I’ll do all the pieces and do my finest to get the belt. That is the primary aim for all fighters that battle within the UFC.”

It’s, however most don’t have a sibling competing for a similar prize. What occurs if Valentina is champion and Antonina is closing in on a title shot? Will Antonina transfer to bantamweight or strawweight, or will Valentina return to 135 kilos?

“For me, this weight is an effective weight division, it is excellent,” she stated. “So now, once I climb into the primary place, I believe I shall be on this weight class. And after, we’ll see. I do not understand how issues will occur once I get near the belt. (Laughs) My little sister is already near being the champion and I am the massive sister, however I am simply coming into the UFC.”

In different phrases, these ultra-close sisters will cross that bridge after they get to it.

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