Nicco Montano was the UFC’s inaugural female flyweight champion, but a bad weight cut ultimately cost her the chance to ever defend that crown.
While she works on the weight-cutting process, Montano will move up a division to bantamweight, where she is expected to make her Octagon return sometime this summer. Sherdog.com confirmed the move with Montano’s manager, Ricky Kottenstette, who said a potential return to flyweight is contingent upon how well her cut to 135 pounds proceeds.
A date and opponent for Montano’s sophomore UFC appearance have not been announced.
Montano made her way through Season 26 of “The Ultimate Fighter” with victories over Lauren Murphy, Montana De La Rosa and Barb Honchak on the reality show before taking a five-round verdict against veteran competitor Roxanne Modafferi at the “TUF 26” finale to claim the 125-pound belt.
Since then, it’s been one unfortunate incident after another for the 30-year-old New Mexico resident. First, tonsilitis and a foot injury prevented Montano from making a quick turnaround for her initial title defense. She was then booked to face No. 1 contender Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 228, but a bad weight cut left her hospitalized and forced her to withdraw one day before the event. As a result, Montano was stripped of her belt. Shevchenko would later claim the vacant crown with a decision over Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231.
Montano has recently relocated her training camp from FIT-NHB to another Albuquerque, N.M.-based gym, Jackson’s MMA Acoma, which is owned by fighters Nick Urso and Clint Roberts. Montano is currently finishing a six-month USADA suspension for taking a contaminated supplement that contained the banned substance ostarine. She will be eligible to return on May 15.