Lauren Murphy Says Nicco Montano Isn't Ducking Valentina Shevchenko

Lauren Murphy is looking to pick up her second win at flyweight at UFC Fight Night Utica when the fighter faces Sijara Eubanks.

One of the bigger rivalries on the UFC Ultimate Fighter 26 was between Murphy and Eubanks, but Murphy feels the rivalry was blown about to make it look a lot worse than it was.

“They kind of blew it up on the show a little bit and I think Sijara has kind of blown it up a little bit, I couldn’t give a f*ck honestly…I don’t care. There could be anybody across the ring from me and…Sijara was mad at me because she thought I was trying to take her spot in the tournament when she was having trouble making weight. To me…that’s what a smart competitor does, everybody should’ve been trying to do that on the show. I don’t feel bad about that and when she did miss weight on the finale, I was like ‘look…see, I was doing the right thing.’ I did the exact same thing on the finale and got back on the fight card, I was able to have a good performance. To me, that kind of put it all to rest. I guess I felt vindicated, what I was trying to tell everybody the whole time finally came to fruition. And that way it all worked out like that, it was a good way for me to end the Ultimate Fighter. Now I’m moving forward in my career and I could face any of those girls in the UFC, its not TUF anymore for me,” says Murphy in an exclusive interview with Fightful’s James Lynch.

Eubanks did miss weight for the TUF 26 Finale and was pulled from the event, which did allow Murphy to fight and defeat Barb Honchak on just a days notice.

Nicco Montano would become the first ever UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion at the UFC Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, defeating Roxanne Modafferi. Montano has since been out of action due to injuries and even took some time to berate ESPN’s Ariel Helwani on social media due to some claims he made about her allegedly ducking Valentina Shevchenko, but Murphy stands by the women's flyweight champion.

“I did and I’m so glad you asked me about that, Nicco’s not afraid of sh*t and I don’t know who got the idea that Nicco is scared of Valentina Shevchenko. I lived with that girl, I trained with that girl and I fought that girl. I’ll tell you something, she’s not afraid of anybody. I do not think she is afraid of Shevchenko, but I do know that she was sick and she wants to be healthy before she fights again…that’s fair. The girls from TUF, you have Sijara who missed weight (at the finale) and hasn’t fought in six months and she has never fought in the UFC. They (the UFC) are putting her in this big fight and giving her all of these opportunities to succeed, but Nicco can’t be sick? She fought like five times in four months, she just won the inaugural (women’s flyweight) title…she has every right to take a break if she wants. I just think this idea that she’s afraid of Shevchenko is…I think people are underestimating her quite a bit, I think its sad and I kind of feel for her. I’ve been on the wrong end of hate…online and stuff, most of the time the fans don’t know what they are talking about and they kind of just blindly go with whatever they think is going on. Anybody who’s met Nicco knows how hard she works and how brave she is, she’s a very good fighter and she belongs in the UFC. She belongs right where she is at, I’m really looking forward to that fight (Nicco vs. Shevchenko) and I’m not counting her out at all, Shevchenko’s tough and she’s a monster and its hard to pick against her. Nicco’s really strong and really good and she’s tricky, she’s got that new school style that’s hard to predict. I’m really looking forward to that fight and its gonna happen, I think Nicco’s gonna step up,” says Murphy.

UFC Fight Night Utica takes place on Friday, June 1 from the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, New York with Jimmie Rivera and Marlon Moraes headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which airs live on Fox Sports 1.

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