IMMAF world lightweight gold medalist Michelle Montague recently took to Instagram, teasing a move to the women’s featherweight division of amateur MMA’s premier international platform, on the hunt for more competition.
The 26-year-old announced herself under the IMMAF banner in 2019 while representing the New Zealand national team. Montague quickly established herself as one of the most imposing and physically impressive athletes at the international level, dominating at both the Oceania Open and World Championships, accumulating a trio of first round submission wins in addition to a single knockout triumph.
Not wholly content with reigning over the -155lbs ranks, Montague is an athlete in search of challenges and is strongly considering the option of going after the more populated featherweight talent pool. If the decision is made to target a second world title at the lower weight, the question that Montague will first look to assess is that of healthily maintaining the -145lbs limit for the duration of the tournament, likely to face 4 – 5 rivals within the championship week if she is to reach the finals.
The reigning lightweight world champion is already experienced is making the featherweight limit for singular bouts and is considering adapting that experience for the tournament format and potentially sustaining the change for a future pro career.
“I’ve always been proactive and strict when it comes to dropping weight,” Montague explained. “I’ve been under that weight (145lbs) at the beginning of 2019, so I can manage it.”
Historically, the likes of UFC champion Amanda Nunes and Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino have brought significant prominence to the professional featherweight division, but for Montague, a drop to featherweight would purely be in search of rivals and states that she feels no pressure to enter featherweight territory for any perception of a spotlight, citing the PFL lightweight division as a major platform for women at lightweight with Olympic Judo icon Kayla Harrison winning the $1 million dollar championship tournament last December, in addition to opportunities under the trailblazing all-women’s promotion, Invicta FC.
“My thoughts were that I’d for sure have fights at featherweight. I don’t have any motive about the spotlight part because I see the PFL lightweight division as a huge spotlight for those girls, so nope that’s not a factor.”
Following her gold medal triumph last November, “The Wild One” quickly set out her intent to qualify for the New Zealand Olympic wrestling team bound for Tokyo 2020. Stay tuned to find out more about her Olympic mission and 2020 campaign within the international proving ground of amateur MMA.
By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran