As part of our International Women’s Day celebrations, we caught up with Michelle Montague, one of the Federation’s most successful athletes. Who shared her thoughts on women’s MMA and what it meant to her to be a part of it.
“I think the growth of women’s MMA is just evergrowing. Now, more than ever, we have role models at every level of the sport for younger girls to look at. It inspires them to start training. There are more gyms opening up and more women’s classes and that is becoming more normal now.”
“Even though we’re in a sport where we fight each other, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we are all sisters at the heart of it, and we want to achieve great things in our respective sports and jobs.”
Montague competed in IMMAF competitions for several years, winning multiple medals for her country of New Zealand. ‘The Wild One’ became an IMMAF World Champion at the 2019 IMMAF-WMMAA Senior World Championships when she defeated fellow Kiwi Mel Webster via a first-round armbar submission.
The Kiwi is one of the biggest success stories to come from IMMAF and credited the focus on expanding women’s divisions as a big factor in the development of women’s MMA.
“It is awesome to see divisions opening up for these heavier weight groups and it is great to see the focus on women for that.”
“IMMAF’s role for women in MMA, I think is massive for the growth. It gives all women, no matter what size, country or ability, a level playing field to compete multiple times even in one week.”
“For fair play, and drug tested sports, IMMAF’s role in MMA for women is huge. I think we will just keep seeing the numbers multiply at these big tournaments as well, and I know that IMMAF really goes out of their way to make sure that countries fill these female spots as well.”
Montague summed up beautifully what International Women’s Day meant to her.
“For us to have all these deep desires and to know that we’re built a different way to men, and all struggle through a lot of the same adversities as well, I think that is super special to have a day devoted to us for that.”
Not only has Montague achieved groundbreaking success at an amateur level, but she was also successful in her professional debut in MMA promotion PFL. Montague’s skills were on show in her one round destruction of American Olivia Parker. Controlling the fight from the opening bell, Montague secured the victory with a slick rear-naked choke submission in the first round. Quite the way to announce yourself into the professional rankings.
Michelle Montague is an exemplary example of an athlete who carries all the qualities and demonstrates the values of a true martial artist. She is both a credit to the sport and an inspiration.