The poster for UFC in Montevideo Uruguay may not say it, but this Saturday’s title fight is actually Shevchenko vs Carmouche 2.
Back when Carmouche was just a green 4 fight pro, the two squared off in Oklahoma for C3 Fights. Despite this being the second time they’ve fought, it is the first time that Carmouche has done a training camp for the flyweight champion.
The reason? Last time she was preparing for someone else.
“I wasn’t supposed to fight Valentina,” Carmouche explained. “I was supposed to fight her sister [Antonina].”
Although Carmouche and Valentina have similar resumes laded with UFC champions, back in 2010 that wasn’t necessarily the case.
“I signed a contract to fight her sister because her sister and I were similar in our experience,” she said. “She had a little bit more experience than I did, but not like Valentina who had 10 years of Muay Thai prior to even getting into MMA.”
Carmouche continued to prepare for the younger, less experienced Shevchenko until she left for the fight. Upon arriving at the venue to weigh-in, she and her team saw a fairly shocking sight.
“I get to the venue, we look and there’s a new fight poster and it’s Valentina, not her sister,” she recalled. “Uh, excuse me, this isn’t right.”
The last second switch of fighters, which Carmouche eventually agreed to, wasn’t the only obstacle in the fight. In fact the entire environment of the fight was awkward to fight in and made it difficult to execute an already compromised gameplan.
“Even when we got out to the venue it was cold. It wasn’t very well lit. It was off in the middle of nowhere. It was just very shady,” Carmouche explained. “The bloodwork - all they did was test for HIV.”
The promoter then claimed they would make it up to her and her team for the switch, but that never happened.
“They tried to pull one over on us. They didn’t pay correctly,” she said. “They said to make up for the fact that I was willing to fight Valentina, not fight her sister, they’d reimburse me and give me per diem and stuff. They didn’t do any of that.”
Although it was a long ordeal at the time, the entire thing is now behind Carmouche. As she looks forward to her second chance to capture UFC gold, she doesn’t really reflect back on the first time she beat the champion for a number of reasons.
“I definitely don’t take anything away from it just because I was such a baby fighter and I was really just learning how to train,” said Carmouche, recalling how at the time she was balancing it all with going to school full-time. “At that point, I wasn’t even sure if fighting was something I was meant to do, and if it was something I was going to pursue head on with everything that I had. It wasn’t until a few fights after that I came to that decision.”
And as far as where it leaves the champ, Carmouche doesn’t think there will be much of an effect on her either - with the exception of a little bit on the mental side of the game.
“It doesn’t count to anything,” Carmouche said. “Except for possibly having a psychological advantage of her thinking about that loss and wanting to come back from it.”