Valentina Shevchenko told anyone who would listen last week that she still did not believe Nicco Montaño would show up to fight her at UFC 228.
As it turns out, Shevchenko was oddly correct in her prediction. Montaño fell ill while cutting weight and had to be taken to a Dallas hospital. Montaño said doctors told her that her kidneys shut down. The UFC, of course, cancelled the bout.
On Monday, speaking with Luke Thomas on The MMA Hour, Montaño said Shevchenko’s lucky guess wasn’t because she truly believed Montaño would not fight. Montaño said she feels Shevchenko was only saying that because it was her hope.
“I think she lives in la-la land for a reason,” Montaño said. “I think she really wanted that to happen. Unless she’s another Miss Cleo and she could have another side job and she’s good at that. But I think she was hoping for it, I think she’s a little scared to fight somebody like me. I think deep down she was really hoping for it, hoping this fight wouldn’t happen, so she could have more ammo to be a cyber bully and she wouldn’t have to face me in the Octagon.”
Montaño, 29, was stripped of her UFC women’s flyweight title because she was unable to make the scale to weigh-in last Friday. Montaño was upset with the UFC for not informing her before UFC president Dana White announced it on television. But Montaño also has reserved some anger for Shevchenko, who she called a “lying bully” and an “egomaniac” in a social media post over the weekend.
Shevchenko said coming into this week that she had begun preparing for Montaño multiple times prior, but Montaño had delayed her first title defense. Montaño said the UFC tried to get her to fight in July, but she wasn’t fully recovered from a broken foot and a tonsillectomy. In fact, Montaño said that she would have preferred the bout in October or November and that she knew her weight would be an issue last week, because of those health issues.
“I don’t know where she’s coming up with that I backed out, because I was scared,” Montaño said.
Montaño said she only accepted the fight with Shevchenko at UFC 228, because the UFC implied it could strip her of the title and fans online were already calling her essentially a coward for not fighting.
On Monday, Montaño said her feelings about the UFC have soured during this whole situation. Part of her isn’t even sure she wants to compete for the promotion anymore. However, another part of her still wants to see Shevchenko across the Octagon.
“Am I gonna want to stay in the UFC?” Montaño said. “I kind of want to stay in the UFC just to fight Valentina eventually. But just like with anything else, what else is the motivation? What else is the motivator?”