Newly crowned UFC women’s flyweight champion Nicco Montano may have just won the belt, but she’s already calling shots like she’s ruled over the division for years.
Montano, who holds a modest 4-2 MMA record, won the 125-pound strap at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 26 Finale, defeating Roxanne Modafferi. Shortly after her big win, she was quoted later shutting down women’s bantamweight Valentina Schevchenko’s desire to fight for the flyweight belt.
Montano expounded upon her statement regarding who is worthy of a title shot in a division that was literally just created in the UFC during an appearance on The MMA Hour:
“You want to fight the best so that you can prove to everybody else that you are the best, but right now the best is not Shevchenko at ‘25. She hasn’t fought at that weight. It’s not Paige VanZant, she hasn’t fought at that weight either. So I think it’s pretty silly and I’m a person who wants fair fights and so I just don’t think they are deserving of it right now. I would like it to be Sarge, I think she deserves another chance. She made it through six weeks of hell doing that. I was there watching, I was there partaking in that six-week period, so I know how much heart she has and how much she’s wanting this.
Montano also refused to entertain a title fight with former strawweight Paige VanZant, who along with Shevchenko has never fought at 125 pounds in the UFC before. However, both women are moving to the flyweight division, and both carry impressive UFC and MMA records in addition to a ton of attention in terms of women’s MMA.
Shevchenko lost a somewhat underwhelming decision to current women’s bantamweight queen Amanda Nunes at UFC 215, but there’s no shame in that considering how dominant Nunes has been lately. VanZant carries with her a 7-3 MMA record, and is looking to reinvent herself at 125 pounds
TUF 26 featured a cast full of 125-pound female fighters, with Montano and Sijara Eubanks making it to the finals. Eubanks was hospitalized the day before the event and Modaferri stepped in on extremely short-notice.
With a newly created division wide open for contenders, Montano won’t be able to call the shots for much longer.
Who should be Montano’s first title defense? Does she have a point about fighters coming from other weight classes being unworthy of a flyweight title shot?