Despite being released by the UFC, former inaugural flyweight champion Nicco Montaño hasn’t given up fighting.
Montaño captured the UFC title in 2017 on the finale of The Ultimate Fighter Season 26. However, the inaugural champ was unable to defend her title after winning gold. Montaño failed to weigh in against the current 125-pound champion Valentina Shevchenko. Following the withdrawal, Nicco Montaño was stripped of her belt due to health and weight struggles.
The stars almost aligned for the 32-year-old in 2019 after moving up to bantamweight to face Julianna Peña. However, Montaño would ultimately lose the fight by unanimous decision. Following the loss, Nicco Montaño struggled to right the ship in the UFC. Apparently, health issues kept Montaño out of action as she was forced to pull out of 4-straight UFC contests. In her fifth scheduled fight with the promotion, Montaño missed weight by over 7-pounds when paired against Wu Yanan at UFC Vegas 33.
Nicco Montaño Eying Featherweight Return
Following the massive weight miss, UFC president Dana White took notice. In August, Nicco Montaño was released by the UFC. After being asked if she would fight in the UFC on a recent episode of MMA Fighting’s Fighter vs. Writer, Montaño was adamant that she would return to the UFC even if it was for the 145-pound division.
“I totally would [fight for the UFC again],” Montaño said. “They said, they’re shutting down the 145 division, but I see a bunch of 145 fights coming left and right these days. I think for now, at 145 I can throw out four fights a year and eventually come back down to 135. Montaño said on MMA Fighting’s Fighter vs. Writer.
“But healthily, right? I was talking to Miesha Tate, she said she’s walking around at 142 right now, she hasn’t been healthier in her life,” Montano continued. “There’s just little tricks and stuff that you’re able to do with your body but you have to be able to cross everything out so that there’s no other noise and you can focus on your priorities and that’s kind of where I’m at right now. So for now, 145, maybe this next year sign a four-fight contract somewhere. I think 135, my body is going to eventually get back down there.”
With her eyes fixated on the featherweight division, Montaño appears to be eager to fight at a heavier weight. For most of Montaño’s UFC tenure, she struggled to make weight in a healthy manner.
Where would you like to see Nicco Montaño fight?