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Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko gets top billing at UFC 215

Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times on

Published in MMA

Nunes has sought this week to clean up her mess with White by repeatedly explaining her withdrawal and promising a quick return to the dominant form that gained her first-round, pay-per-view main-event victories over Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey last year after she defeated Shevchenko by decision in March 2016.

"I wasn't feeling good in the morning and my coach told me not to fight. I knew it'd be rescheduled, and here we are now," Nunes said. "I worked too hard in my career to put my belt on the line when I'm not feeling good. Why do I have to step in the cage?"

Anyway, Nunes said before Borg's illness, she felt Johnson deserved the main event as a showcase for his skills, which have him ranked as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter on UFC.com.

"What 1/8White3/8 said didn't bother me at all. My money is going to be the same," Nunes said. "The most important thing I can do is beat this girl 1/8Shevchenko3/8 in front of me -- first fight of the night, or last -- and I know in my next show, I'm going to be in the main event."

What it came down to in July, Nunes said, was upholding her responsibility as part of "the big team" that is the UFC, an obligation to perform only when feeling her best to sustain the momentum that women's fighting has gained from the Rousey era through hers, as Nunes confronts likely her most difficult fight yet.

"Everybody has things to say, and I'm not going to be mad at 1/8White3/8 for giving his opinion," Nunes said. "He's my boss. I'm not going to fight with the person who's feeding me. I respect him as a boss. I'm going to prove to him that I'm the best and move forward with my career.

"I'll take on whatever challenge life gives me, and Valentina will be that next challenge."

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