Nicco Montano made history on Friday night when she became the inaugural UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion by defeating Roxanne Modafferi at The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale.
Modafferi was a replacement for Sijara Eubanks, who was forced off of the card due to what seems to be a bad weight cut. But Montano’s miracle rise to the top as a 14th seed in the tournament nearly was for naught; she also may not have competed on Friday night due to a broken foot.
“The second day after I came home from the show, I broke my foot,” Montano said in a post-fight interview.
Montano had aggravated the injury in the days leading up to the fight. Despite thoughts of not competing, she motivated herself to go on with the fight, with the additional help of some therapy.
“Yesterday, my heel was coming off the ground about two centimeters. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to fight tonight…You’ve got to have heart and discipline if you’re a fighter. You’re going to get hurt, so you got to put it to the side even though it’s broken.”
Despite Modafferi coming on as a last-minute replacement, she seemed to be the favorite heading into the fight. Modafferi competed on The Ultimate Fighter back in season 18 before competing in Invicta FC ever since. Modafferi was the top-ranked fighter on the show but lost to Eubanks in the semi-finals.
Montano had just a 4-2 record heading into the show before she upset third-ranked Lauren Murphy, sixth-ranked Montana Stewart, second-ranked Barb Honchak and Modafferi en route to winning the title.
“It’s still kind of unbelievable. I still haven’t looked at the belt. I’ve been just holding onto it.”