Taila Santos gave Valentina Shevchenko a tough night in the office when they met for the flyweight championship at UFC 275 in Singapore this past June, and she’s since waited for her next assignment.
Santos was told immediately after the bout she would have to go under the knife to fix a broken orbital, courtesy of a clash of heads with the champion. The injury might have changed the course of the fight, but she avoided surgery. Cleared to train for months now, she remains in waiting mode.
“We’ve been asking for fights over and over again — asking for the rematch, really,” Santos said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “Tiago [Okamura, manager] spoke with Mick [Maynard] and the UFC, informed them I was well and training. They even said that Valentina was running. She asked them for fights, but not against me.”
According to the Brazilian talent, the UFC matchmaker “called six or seven girls, and no one agreed” to fight her.
“I’m training and waiting, but it’s been hard to get a fight,” she said. “I wanted the rematch, but Valentina didn’t agree to it. Based on her social media, she’s just traveling.”
Winner of four in a row in the UFC against the likes of Molly McCann, Roxanne Modafferi and Joanne Wood before coming up short against Shevchenko, Santos said she’s not surprised with the champion’s alleged refusal to meet a second time.
“All the girls say Valentina is a monster, but I’ve been saying for a while she has no ground game,” Santos said. “I showed that there was no reason to fear [her]. I knew she wouldn’t accept a rematch after that fight. I called her out anyway, but I knew she wouldn’t take the risk of losing her belt. She wouldn’t rematch me after I showed she was no big deal. She’s scared.”
Happy to finally be part of EA Sports’ UFC 4 game, Santos said she’s so eager to compete she would be down to re-entering the octagon as early as December, or even be a late addition to the UFC 283 lineup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Jan. 21.
“I’m ranked No. 2 in the UFC, so I would like to fight someone around me,” Santos said. “I would like to fight the No. 1, [Manon] Fiorot, or the one below me, [Katlyn] Chookagian. People keep talking and talking, mentioning fighters that have retired already, but no one says my name.”