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Former UFC champion Nicco Montaño shares disturbing details of alleged assault

[CW: The following article includes descriptions of domestic violence]

Nicco Montaño during the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight title fight in 2017.
Nicco Montaño during the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight title fight in 2017.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Former UFC champion Nicco Montaño is involved in yet another unfortunate situation. But this time around, things have gotten much worse.

In a short series of Instagram stories, Montaño says she’d been physically assaulted by a man named Justin Watson.

Nicco Montaño IG story 1

“Tonight Justin Watson stood on my neck and stomped my face in then kept kicking me and shoving my hair into his fist and the corner of the bed frame. I got away for a second to run down the hall (naked) screaming for my life as he tried to drag me back by my hair,” she wrote.

“Luckily someone from the hotel heard my screams and came to me rescue. I’m stuck in Texas, not knowing where he is and scared.”

The 32-year-old competitor is now reportedly recovering from the said incident and credits her fighting background for helping her survive the ordeal.

Nicco Montaño IG story 2

“I’m in the hospital and I’m sooooo lucky to have technique and strength that I have to have defended myself.”

In a follow-up tweet, Montaño is said to have gone through facial x-rays and was eventually released from the hospital.

After winning the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight title in 2017, Montaño went through a major health scare that led to her removal from her supposed UFC 228 title defense against Valentina Shevchenko. That incident ultimately cost her the title.

Montaño (4-3) last saw action in 2019 against Julianna Peña and lost via decision. She’d been subsequently booked four more times, all of which were scrapped due to injury, a doctor’s recommendation, COVID-19, and a horrible weight miss.

Editor’s Note: This article originally identified the attacker as 34-year-old 0-1 MMA fighter Justin Watson. Following reports linked back to a series of exchanges under a post on the MMA Island instagram account. That information has been removed as it has apparently been disputed by Montano herself on social media.