LAS VEGAS — It is Dec. 28, 2020, and UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko is invited to a Roaring ’20s-themed celebration to have fun New 12 months’s Eve in Kyrgyzstan.
“I am like, oh my god, it is three days earlier than the New 12 months and I haven’t got a gown,” Shevchenko recalled to ESPN two weeks earlier than her title protection towards Taila Santos at UFC 275 (Saturday, 10 p.m. on ESPN+ PPV).
Very similar to Cinderella’s fairy godmother, Aysalkyn Ismailova met Shevchenko on the final minute to take her measurements. She advised Shevchenko she would get the gown performed even when she did not sleep. The subsequent day she offered the champion with a stupendous gown for the celebration.
“The very best factor about being at house in Kyrgyzstan is that there is so many gifted folks round you,” Shevchenko stated. “It is about actual need and love in your work. They wish to be the very best at their jobs and create happiness for his or her prospects.”
Shevchenko made it to the ball by midnight, identical to within the fairy story, however her story is extra like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde — or moderately she’s each the Magnificence and the Beast. Her upbringing in Kyrgyzstan and lifelong dedication to martial arts has offered her a novel life-style that provides a large spectrum of fight and superstar.
“In my regular life, I could be mushy, however I cannot let somebody dictate what I do. I do what I wish to do, I believe that is my beast aspect,” Shevchenko stated with amusing. “I do not go round and scream at folks, as a result of martial arts teaches me that you need to be respectful. However you need to management every little thing, it doesn’t matter what the scenario is. You need to take into consideration what you’re doing as a result of every little thing has penalties.”
Her meticulous nature is obvious as Shevchenko organizes her crew by top for a photograph after morning apply, telling every member of her coaching camp precisely the place to face or kneel for the appropriate shot. However when she’s not in coaching camp main as much as a struggle, she explains, her demeanor is way totally different.
“In my life there’s two sides,” stated Shevchenko. “I might say martial arts are my No. 1, however I like to journey, the outside, and I like to have these glamour photograph shoots the place I can specific myself. As soon as I am in struggle camp, although, I’ve to show to a distinct mode.”
Having actions exterior of preventing helps her unwind, however whereas making ready for a struggle, Shevchenko likes to remain 100% centered on her opponent and her efficiency contained in the Octagon. Whereas she likes to look lovely and gown up, she retains that for after she wins the struggle and her mission is finished.
“As soon as I am there, the digital camera is on and you’ve got the outfit and the appropriate ambiance, it is type of like reworking. It feels good. I actually benefit from the course of,” she stated.
Shevchenko was capable of mix either side of her persona final yr by means of her movie debut in “Bruised” on Netflix. Enjoying a task that mimics her personal life, Shevchenko portrayed a fighter named Girl Killer reverse Halle Berry. She stated she thinks that her harder aspect can nonetheless show her class exterior of the cage.
“It is totally different. All ladies are lovely in a struggle as a result of it’s the fantastic thing about the skilled physique,” she stated. “How one can management your physique, how one can strike, your eyes concentrating in your goal. You wish to win the struggle. It’s extremely harmful. It is highly effective, this confidence.”
However as soon as the struggle is over, the mindset is switched and the dancing begins.
“It is already inside me, so it is pure, it simply issues what mode I activate,” Shevchenko stated. “It is all collectively — this magnificence and beast.”