Antonina Shevchenko has vowed to climb to the top of the UFC flyweight division this year, but insists she will never fight her sister Valentina.

‘Pantera’ had a spectacular 2018, defending her world Muay Thai title, then winning her match on Dana White’s contender series via second round TKO and if that wasn’t enough, she completed her full UFC debut with a convincing victory over Ji Yeon Kim.

Next up for the 34 year old is a fight at UFC Fight Night 149. She is slated to face #8 ranked flyweight Roxanne Modafferi in St. Petersburg but won’t be paying too much attention to the rankings while her younger sister, who won the title in December, is champion.

“We definitely would not fight each other. MMA is not a sport where sisters can compete against each other. We will see (but) for now Valentina is the champion. We will figure something out once I am there.”

Different division

If that sounds like something of a cryptic comment Shevchenko clarified that she would consider competing in a new division if necessary,

“There are more interesting options, weight classes and opponents to consider,” she said.

She is currently training at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket along with her sister. Both have spent considerable time training in Thailand but Antonina says her martial arts journey began much earlier,

“My life is about martial arts and has been since I trained in Taekwondo at seven years old. I was a national champion at nine. And since then won 11 more world titles. I was born to do this.”

Rich experiences

Pantera holds a deep affection for Thailand and loves experiencing new countries and cultures,

“I really love training in Thailand, fight camps there are like modern Shaolin. I want to live an exciting life as a professional fighter, I want to visit interesting places around the world.”

She has also toyed with the idea of doing a fight camp on a cruise ship,

“The ocean, the sea it’s so beautiful, strong and magical! I would like to cross Pacific or Atlantic Ocean on a ship. On the modern ships there are big fitness centers, and punching bags, where we could continue to train and work our technique too.”

Burning ambition

However Shevchenko, who has won titles in Muay Thai and kickboxing as well as MMA, has one main goal. She wants to follow in her sister’s footsteps.

“My goal is to be champion of the UFC.”