Nicco Montano is the UFC women’s flyweight champion. She earned that distinction with a December decision defeat of Roxanne Modafferi. While Montano is the champion, however, many fans seem to consider flyweight contender Valentina Shevchenko the division’s best fighter. There are even some fans who believe Montano is avoiding Shevchenko.
Speaking to KRQE earlier this month, Montano explained that this simply isn’t the case. She’s currently doing her best to heal up from a nasty foot injury, and his happy to defend against Shevchenko when she’s fighting fit.
“If Shevchenko wants to hold off until I’m ready, why not?” Montano said (h/t MMAJunkie.com). “At this weight, 125, it’s hard to get scared. I was a 135er, and I was fighting girls way stronger than me at one point in some aspects. At 125 I don’t really feel like I get overpowered as easily. Even though [Shevchenko] has been fighting for her whole life and I’ve been fighting for under a decade, I’m just going to go have to go to my headquarters and rely on my strength.”
“I’m shooting for this summer,” Montano continued, giving a timeframe for her anticipated return to the cage. “I’m really hoping to get on that Vegas card [at UFC 226]. I had to fight through this injury the last time too, and the [UFC Performance Institute] helped me out a bunch. I think that it could have turned out a different way without that support, so I’m really hoping for that July card in Las Vegas.”
If this women’s flyweight title fight occurs at UFC 226 this July 7, it’ll join a heavyweight superfight between divisional champ Stipe Miocic and beefed-up light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier. The card could also include a men’s flyweight title fight between dominant champ Demetrious Johnson and slimmed down bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw.
Do you think Nicco Montano can prove her doubters wrong and defeat Valentina Shevchenko?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/20/2018.