Nicco Montano has officially cemented her legacy as a Native American UFC fighter.
Almost three years ago, on December 1, 2017, Montano displayed incredible determination when, with a broken foot, she defeated Roxanne Modafferi to become the first Native American female to win a UFC championship belt. On that night Montando accomplished the ultimate when she won not only the UFC inaugural women’s flyweight division belt, but also a six- figure contract from the UFC.
“I’ve finally come to a point in my career where I can be proud of the decision I made to become a fighter,” Montano said.
Montano, who was 28 years-old at the time, managed not only to shock the world by defeating the heavily favored Modafferi, but did it on a broken foot suffered in training camp.
“I’ve worked very, very hard; day in and day out I’ve been in that gym,” Montano said. “I went through this whole camp with a broken foot. I could have just said, “I’m the one with the title shot, I can decide when I want to fight,” but that just shows how much work I’ve put into it.”
This 5 foot 5, 125-pound southpaw fighter, with a 65-inch reach, had strung together an impressive 5-0 amateur record, before embarking on her professional career.
In making a statement, Montano, who is of Navajo, Chickasaw and Hispanic decent, dominated at King of the Cage, where she was victorious in claiming the KOTC Women’s Flyweight Championship. Eventually, Montano got her big break when in 2017 qualified for The Ultimate Fighter 26 and never looked back. Quickly she made a strong impression as she won her first fight by unanimous decision against the more experienced Lauren Murphy. Riding the momentum, there was no stopping Montano as she recorded unanimous decision wins against Montana Stewart in the quarterfinals and Invicta FC Flyweight Champion Barb Honchak which punched her ticket to the Ultimate Fighter 26 finale. Fighting on that December night, with the inaugural Women’s Flyweight Championship at stake, Montano not only made UFC history by defeating Modafferi, but she also earned the Fight of the Night bonus.
Bursting with pride, the Navajo Nation organized to have a celebration and a potluck to honor the newly crowned champion.
“Everybody wanted to come together and put together a parade for me,” she said. “On Sunday December 3, the Navajo Nation president Russell Begaye dubbed it Nicco Montano Day. It’s crazy, but very nice.”
Currently, Montano, who no longer has the belt, is next scheduled to meet Karol Rosa on February 6, 2021 in the octagon for UFC Fight Night 189. You can bet that the entire Navajo Nation will be watching their number one fan that night.