Five years ago, Amy “The Resurrection” Montenegro was going through changes in her fighting career, she decided she needed to change gyms and managers after she felt she wasn’t fighting up to her capabilities. Without a place to train, she also decided to take a fight. Her manager reached out to a friend and he agreed to help and train her, that person was her future husband, Dex Montenegro.
The two quickly hit it off and were engaged within a year while having success inside and outside the cage. Amy is an Invicta veteran with an 8-3 record and Dex has a record of 6-4. But the Montenegros got into the fight game very differently. Amy took a Muay Thai class at the request of a previous boyfriend and didn’t love it initially. Eventually she learned to love it as it helped her relieve stress from her career as a nurse. Her coach asked her if she wanted to take a fight and she agreed. From there she fell in love with martial arts and decided she would compete the rest of her life, she still does work as a nurse though.
Dex on the other hand was introduced to boxing by his older brother because he kept getting into trouble in his home state of Hawaii. He then learned he could make decent money by fighting professionally so along with his cousin, he moved to Washington state and took up mixed martial arts.
The Montenegros have been together for five years and are raising two daughters. The daughters are involved in martial arts as well. In May, their oldest daughter who is 13, became a 2x WA FreeStyle Wrestling State Champion and also became the 2018 WA Greco Roman Wrestling State champion. Their youngest daughter who is 11, entered her first state tournament and placed in both freestyle and Greco.
All of this success and the intriguing story of a fighting family led to an opportunity to film their story which became the documentary, Fight Fam. It was filmed and directed by Rueben Rodriguez who previously shot a mini documentary on Amy before she tried out for The Ultimate Fighter season 20. Rodriguez became a friend and wanted to showcase the family. The film made it’s debut on August 15 in Washington and is currently being shopped around for a national debut.
For the family, it wasn’t weird to be filmed all the time, it actually felt natural to them.
“It was really cool, we watched the film last night (August 15) everything was natural, because Rueben was there like a friend, he was already our friend, we felt real comfortable around him, we felt normal so it wasn’t really anything. Anything you saw on the Fight Fam documentary it was very real. It was cool, he was traveling around the country with us. At the time I wasn’t contracted with Invicta or anything, Dex was taking fights too. We went to Hawaii, Southern California, Idaho, we had a local fight. He came along to some of the wrestling tournaments, the girls, my two stepdaughters, everything just kinda worked out with that.”
The documentary went beyond just fighting, it went into their everyday lives and showed their family dynamic.
“I feel like we have an interesting life style
“It wasn’t just us involved in Mixed Martial Arts and martial arts in general but we had our kids on. We wanted everybody to see what we go through other than the whole fight process. Like our everyday lives. We are normal people too, we’re not just people who fight and try and hurt other people for money, we have lives and we’re nice people.”
“I just want people to understand that we’re just normal people basically, this is what we do as a family, as a hobby, it’s our passion.”
With a passion that is as demanding as martial arts is, especially competitive martial arts, it provides many challenges, especially when both parents have a career in it. But for the Montenegros it’s just a way of life ad they know how to help each other out.
“Yes you have to be selfish but at the same time it’s all give and take,” said Amy. “So when Dex is down I’m the one to pick up the slack when I am down he is the one to pick up the slack. We both have our own strengths and weaknesses and we know how to jump in and help the other one out. It’s always trying to find that balance.”
There have been many high moments such as this documentary and low moments such as losses in the cage or even scarier ones such as Dex’s health scares when a weight cut went bad. For the Montenegros, the pain is always worse for the person on the outside.
“Every loss that she took felt like my loss too, and I’m sure you felt the same way, said Dex.”
“Yeah,” said Amy.
“I take Amy’s losses a lot harder than I took my losses,” said Dex.
“And that’s hard on me,” said Amy.
Dex and Amy are hoping that on September 15, when they both step into the cage for Dominate FC that it is one of the high moments. This won’t be the first time that they fight on the same card together, in fact they are undefeated when they fight on the same card. Amy will be fighting for the Dominate FC strawweight title against Miranda Granger. Dex will be fighting Patrick Benson.
What is unique about their upcoming fights is that they are not training at the same gyms for their camps.
“What we’ve done is, she’s at a different MMA gym. We’re still part of Gracie Barra up here, for our jiu jitsu and our grappling, that’s our home gym pretty much, that’s our base. She’s at a different MMA gym right now training with a different trainer and I’m training at a Muay Thai gym for my stand up. So our camp is together for the grappling part.”
Both fighters haven’t fought in the cage for about a year but they have been competing in jiu jitsu and wrestling tournaments during that time. Their current fights have also been booked since May so there has been a lot of time to focus and train for them.
As previously mentioned, Amy is facing Granger, a young fighter who is undefeated. Amy previously trained at Granger’s gym but it was such a long time ago that it won’t have any affect on the fight.
“I am completely different than I was when I was there and I’ve added to my game and I’m sure the gym has evolved in a different way too, I don’t really take that into account at all.”
She doesn’t view it as a title fight, just a fight she needs to win.
“It’s a title fight but to me the belt doesn’t really mean anything, its just a five round fight that I need to win. I’m just excited to go out there and show everybody what I’ve been working on and do my thing. It’s going to be a good fight.”
Dex is going into his fight on a three-fight losing streak after starting his career at 5-1. He believes he spread himself to thin and wasn’t able to focus on his fights completely. Now he says he is focused and will take home the victory.
It’s happening! Amy "Resurrection" Montenegro(8-3) vs Miranda Danger Granger(3-0) will be the Main Event for the 115lb…
“This time I have been focusing on this camp, I’ve been focusing on my weight. Like I said we’ve been training at different gyms and I’ve been picking up different stuff, different techniques and been able to work my game.”
“I think I matchup pretty well with Derek, he’s a young kid but he’s just as experienced as I am, I think he has as many fights as I do as an amateur and a pro and he’s 23. I’m not taking this kid lightly. People think that I am, so be it but I’m not taking him lightly. I think he’s actually the toughest fight to date.”
“It’s going to be a good fight.”
Amy and Dex can be seen fighting at the Tacoma Dome in Washington state on September 15, the documentary featuring the Montenegros will soon be available for broadcast.