Nicco Montano holding the UFC flyweight title after being crowned the divisions first champion in 2017.

Nicco Montano targets move to featherweight, eyeing PFL or Bellator next

Former inaugural UFC flyweight champion Nicco Montano had a tough run with the promotion after winning the title on The Ultimate Fighter Season 26 but she’s ready for major changes as she looks for the next stage of her fighting career. Having not competed since suffering a unanimous decision loss to Julianna Pena in 2019, Montano parted ways with the UFC earlier this year and now she’s ready for a new promotion and a new weight class.

In an interview with ‘Throwing Down‘ on Sirius XM’s Fight Nation hosted by Miesha Tate and Ryan McKinnell, Nicco Montano revealed that she will be moving up to 145 pounds and she is seeking out a new home promotion for her next fight.

“At this point I think 145 (featherweight) is the better option, the more healthier option for me. So I’m trying to look into getting a Bellator fight because that’s probably the only promotion that’s open at 145 right now, trying to build their division. Also, PFL doesn’t sound too bad with that $1 million win, even though it’s 155, I mean anything that will get me in the Octagon at this point, I’d love to fight. Through all my fights that I’ve had to pull out of, I was in training camp so I’m still ready, I’m still getting in as much training as I can. I’m trying to get into Scottsdale [Arizona] so I can get into Fight Ready and start this thing over again.”

With several documented missed weight cuts at both 125 and 135, Montano said her last scheduled fight was called off because she was suffering from a concussion and concussion-like symptoms. Due to those symptoms, Montano dealt with physical changes in her body and those changes led her to decide to move up to 145 pounds for her next fight.

“That last camp I had to pull out of was due to a concussion. I couldn’t do anything when you’re concussed, my symptoms were vertigo, ringing in the ear, it was bad, so I just had to give my body and my brain a break. Three months post-concussion but I was working with Heather [UFC staff] at the PI, and going from nothing to that, it was hard to kick it into gear again. It is what it is at this point, ’45 I think is a better option because I’m not going to have to kill myself to make ’45 and I do feel like the partners I have trained with in the past will attest to my strengths, no matter what weight class I’m at, and as any martial artist knows it’s all about technique anyway.”

Throughout the early stages of her career, Nicco Montano was a mainstay at bantamweight although she did have a flyweight fight before her TUF opportunity, and said her coaches angled for her to make a run at flyweight in the UFC. However, now, Montano says the decision to change weight classes came through her experiences. Montano told ‘Throwing Down’ that she believes she was a natural 135-pound fighter, but she guarantees featherweight will be consistent for her.

“At this point ’45 is going to be the healthier choice for me and that’s something that I can guarantee to be consistent with until I can be walking around at a lighter weight without the added on stress of everything, too. I think that was a big thing too, having my hormones shifted just because of the stress added on to everything.”

It is very refreshing to see that Nicco Montano is targeting a return to action at a weight class that is a smarter decision at this stage of her career and overall a healthier decision for her. Whether or not Bellator or PFL would be interested is yet to be known, but there could be doors open for the former UFC champion.

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