In defeat, Lauren Murphy has nothing but praise for her UFC 266 opponent Valentina Shevchenko. Calling her a talent on the level of Michael Jordan in the NBA, or Khabib Nurmagomedov and Anderson Silva in MMA.
Over her dominant and unbeaten eight-fight run in the UFC women’s flyweight division, Shevchenko (22-3) has placed herself in an elite class. Not only is she the best women’s 125-pound fighter in the world and in the debate as the best female MMA fighter alive, but she is also deserving of pound-for-pound consideration in either gender.
The native of Kyrgyzstan has been that mesmerizing over the last few years. She’s been so impressive that even opponents can’t help but admire her greatness. In a recent interview with MMAFighting, Murphy (15-5) — the latest victim in the flyweight queen’s run of dominance — talked about her experience in losing to Shevchenko by fourth-round technical knockout last month. Calling the 33-year-old a fighter on another level. Akin to NBA GOAT Michael Jordan former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov when it comes to elite level winners.
Lauren Murphy calls Valentina Shevchenko a women’s flyweight version of Michael Jordan
“She was incredible. It was pretty crazy to be in there with somebody at that level because I’ve never truly competed with anybody that level before,” Murphy said.” … “It’s a bummer to lose, and that’s the first time I had ever been finished. I think it was a good stoppage, I was pretty out of it by the time the ref pulled her off of me.
“It’s definitely not the outcome we wanted but, to be honest with you, it was pretty cool to be in there with a martial artist of her caliber. That’s a pretty cool experience. That must be what it’s like to go play one-on-one with Michael Jordan, or that’s how guys felt when they were competing with Khabib, because it really was, ‘Holy sh*t, this girl is really on another level.’”
Murphy compares UFC 266 loss to Anderson Silva’s KO of Forrest Griffin in 2009
Murphy’s comparisons didn’t end there. When reflecting on the fight, she compared her defeat to the UFC 101 bout between former UFC greats Forrest Griffin and Anderson Silva. A fight “The Spider” dominated with speed, otherwordly skill, and power, en route to a first-round knockout.
“It reminded me of when Forrest Griffin fought Anderson Silva, and he said, ‘I tried to punch him, he moved his head, then he looked at me like I was stupid and he hit me back.’ That’s kind of what it was like,” said Murphy. “This must have been what it was like to fight Anderson in his prime. It’s cool to be in the presence of greatness.”
What are your thoughts on Murphy’s comments? Has Shevchenko reached a point where she has become the Jordan, Nurmagomedov, and Silva of women’s flyweight?