Shevchenko (15-3) and Montaño (4-2) were set to clash at UFC 228 this past weekend in Dallas for the 125-pound title. However, Montaño was taken to a local hospital prior to the weigh-ins Friday morning. In a statement issued via her Instagram account, the now-former champ said her hospitalization was related to complications during her weight cut.
Montaño was subsequently pulled from the co-main event and was stripped of the new 125-pound belt, which she had earned by winning last year's Season 26 of "The Ultimate Fighter."
"I could not believe it," Shevchenko said Monday during an appearance on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show. "I was hoping until the very last moment they would be able to find an opponent as a replacement for me. Unfortunately, it didn't happen, so now I wait again, a little more, and hopefully will have some name soon to fight for the title."
While the decision to strip Montaño was met with some disapproval, Shevchenko backs the UFC. "Yes, I agree with this decision and I think it's totally right," she said. "What is the main purpose of the fighter, of the person that is contracted under UFC? It's to fight."
Montaño did not appreciate that Shevchenko had reacted Friday to the fight cancellation by saying Montaño didn't want to fight her in the first place. Montaño fired back at Shevchenko in a lengthy Instagram post. That amused the Peruvian fighter.
"It made me laugh so much, because now she has all the time in the world to speak her stories, to invent facts. Everything she wants to do, she can do it now because now she doesn't have to face me," Shevchenko said. "She doesn't have to fight me. She can feel more free to express her words and speak, which I think is her favorite thing."
Shevchenko is not interested in having the UFC rebook the Montaño fight. "I'm moving on," she said. "If at some point she will show that she deserves this fight, that she really knows where she's going and is ready for this fight -- I think she is not ready for this fight, but if in the future she will show it, I will think about it."
The former bantamweight title contender is looking to fight for the 125-pound championship at the earliest date available and doesn't have an opponent in mind. "I'm ready for everyone," Shevchenko said.
But when former UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk was mentioned, she sounded interested. "We already have our history with Joanna in Muay Thai and we can start our history in MMA. Why not?" said Shevchenko, who beat Jedrzejczyk in all three of their kickboxing bouts. "Why don't we do this fight? All the fans want to see this fight.
"The division has to move, the division has to fight and the belt has to be in play. The fight for the belt has to happen before the end of the year. I will gladly fight Joanna because she's a real professional fighter."