Still Fly- MMA’s Next Great Flyweight Darrell Montague
Chino, CA -- Darrell Montague is a pioneer of sorts.
For years the top fighters less than 155 pounds would compete almost exclusively in Asian countries. Over the past decade bantamweights through featherweight fighters have gotten more opportunities to compete stateside at their natural weight. The purchase of the World Extreme Cagefighting by Zuffa in 2006 gave lower weight classes an even bigger shot in the arm and a promotion to call their own in the United States.
Over the next five years as MMA continues its maturation process fighters in the 125 pound flyweight and even lower will get a chance to have competitive match-ups as well as recognition from fans and promoters alike.
Darrell Montague 4-1 is a flyweight based out of California who is leading the charge of a generation of athletes who fight exclusively at 125 pounds.
The 21 year old Montague is four star MMA prospect who comes from a great a camp in Millennia jiu-jitsu. The California native currently ranked number 23 on the Ultmma50, a pound for pound list of the top 50 unsigned local prospects in all of MMA.
Montague's next fight will be at a catch weight of 130 pounds, continuing a pattern of North America's top flyweight prospect never having fought at the weight that suits him best; welcome to MMA flyweight world circa 2009.
ULTMMA spoke with Montague after a recent training session about his future, fight camp and the direction he would like to see the flyweight division go in 2010.
ULTMMA.com: What is it like trying to find at 125 here in the states?
Darrell Montague: It's impossible. The lowest I have fought at is 130. I haven't gotten anyone to meet me at 125 yet. There have been some possibilities coming up the WEC is talking about a division and also Dream may have a flyweight tournament. I guess a lot of the smaller organizations around here are trying to get on the ball and get the 125 pound division going before anyone else.
ULTMMA: Your last fight was in April any reason for the extended layoff?
Montague: You know I had four fights in three and half months, I just wanted to take some time to heal and get better. I've been working on my jiu-jitsu, even put back on the Gi, just trying to get way more technical instead of just going out there and fighting. I want to work on my technique.
ULTMMA: What's the strongest aspect of your overall MMA game right now?
Montague: My strong point is just being well rounded. I've been doing everything about the same amount of time. I think that's where people have a hard time dealing with me. I go from the boxing to the wrestling to the jiu-jitsu and it all mixes it real well.
ULTMMA: What is it like having world class lower weight guys on your team to train with like Manny Tapia, Javier Vasquez, among others?
Montague: It gives me so much confidence when I go into the ring I know they are nowhere near the level or have as much talent as the guys I compete with everyday.
ULTMMA: What do you know about next opponent?
Montague: I know he is tall and lanky. His name is Josh Rabedeaux and the only fight saw him in is when he fought Maurice Eazel, it looked he got taken down pretty easily. I don't know too much about him.
ULTMMA: what kind of pace do you want set as far as taking fights goes for the rest of this year and 2010?
Montague: I want to get one more fight this year or another one early next year. I just leave all that stuff to my manger. I have a great management and a great gym. I just train everyday just to try to get better.
ULTMMA: Who do you think are some of the best flyweights in the world?
Montague: If, the WEC does ending up making the 125 pound weight class I think Charlie Valencia bar none is the best 125 pounder in the world.
ULTMMA: Some gyms are against fighting teammates would you two be opposed to fighting one another?
Montague: Charlie has fought from 170 now down to 135, he's tiny he walks around at less than 135. We are like brothers but I'm sure if you put a million dollars down, we would split the pot and go in there and make it a show.
ULTMMA: What do you see in the future for 125 pound division?
Montague: I think once people see it and are not opposed to seeing such small guys, I mean just look at 135 and 145 it's so exciting. We (125 pound fighters) have the same talent, we go in and battle and are very technical. Once people see it they are going to love it. When the WEC starts it it's going to be just as popular as any of the other weight classes.
ULTMMA: What is it like being a professional MMA fighter at the age of 21?
Montague: It's hard to stay out of trouble. I just come to the gym but there is a big party scene out there and I just can't get into that. All my friends go out and drink, they do all that stuff so it's hard to keep a level head and keep focused.
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