Nicco Montaño believes Valentina Shevchenko was hoping UFC 228 fight wouldn’t happen

Nicco Montano, Nicco Montaño

UFC 228, which went down last weekend in Dallas, Texas, was initially expected to be co-headlined by a women’s flyweight title fight between champion Nicco Montaño and challenger Valentina Shevchenko. Regrettably, Montaño was hospitalized in the midst of her weight cut, and the bout was cancelled, which ultimately resulted in Montaño being stripped of her title.

Leading up to this fight, Valentina Shevchenko said on several occasions that she doubted Nicco Montaño would show up to the fight. Speaking to Luke Thomas on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Montaño shared her belief that this was wishful thinking on Shevchenko’s part. She believes the Kyrgyzstani contender was hoping the fight wouldn’t happen.

“I think she lives in la-la land for a reason,” Nicco Montaño said (transcript via MMA Fighting). “I think she really wanted that to happen. Unless she’s another Miss Cleo and she could have another side job and she’s good at that. But I think she was hoping for it, I think she’s a little scared to fight somebody like me. I think deep down she was really hoping for it, hoping this fight wouldn’t happen, so she could have more ammo to be a cyber bully and she wouldn’t have to face me in the Octagon.”

Nicco Montaño also divulged that being stripped of her title caused her perception of the UFC to change. At this point, she’s no longer a huge fan of the promotion — though she would like to stick around so she’s able to fight Shevchenko.

“Am I gonna want to stay in the UFC?” Montaño said. “I kind of want to stay in the UFC just to fight Valentina eventually. But just like with anything else, what else is the motivation? What else is the motivator?”

What do you think the future holds for Nicco Montaño. Do you think she’ll ever fight Valentina Shevchenko?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/16/2018.