by Mick Hammond, MMAWeekly.com
It’s been a rollercoaster year for Richard Montoya. After losing the only fight of his career this January to Jason Lambert, Montoya joined the newly reformed Lion’s Den and has rebounded winning his last two fights. The second of which will be featured on the upcoming King of the Cage “Execution Day” PPV debuting this weekend.

Montoya, fighting in front of his hometown crowd of Reno, NV, defeated longtime MMA veteran Aaron Brink via guillotine choke early in the first round. (Coincidentally it was the second time in two fights in Reno this year that Brink fell to the same exact fate.) Recently Montoya spoke with MMA Weekly to talk about the fight, his training with Ken Shamrock, and what he hopes to have in line for his future.

When asked to describe how the fight went from his perspective, Montoya commented, “The bell rang and I kind of quickly went across the ring, feinted a jab and went down for a low body clinch and pushed him towards the fence. He kind of turned me out, from there we worked the clinch, trying to trip each other up and I ended up getting him to the ground. We sat in guard for a bit, he was holding on to me tight, but I was able to get separation, when I passed his guard, I swung his legs pretty hard, so he ended up landing face first on all fours so I got him in a front headlock. I pulled him standing so I could work the choke, I got one arm in and got the other one in and got the full guillotine and pulled guard and finished it.”

This fight was the first that Montoya had MMA legend Ken Shamrock in his corner. Richard describes what Ken had to say to him before he entered the cage, “He basically went over the same gameplan that we’d talked about. He wanted to make sure the last memory I had before stepping in there was go in there, break the distance, get him tired, work him around a few minutes, and once he’s gassed do what I want. Either stand him back up and bang with him if I wanted or try to submit him or whatever I liked. He thought that I would be in better shape and that was the gameplan, but I ended up getting the submission at two minutes. It was right there so I ended up going for it.”

Most expected a stand-up brawl, but Richard explained he took what he was given and says that his trademark striking will have to wait for another fight. “I know he’s a tough fighter and I have a long hard road ahead of me. To stand and trade with a guy like that wouldn’t have been the wisest thing. It probably would have been a good show, and I’m sure there are going to be other fights where I don’t have a choice but to let go, but I’ll just save that fight for another day.”

Now that he’s with the Lion’s Den, Montoya feels that he’s becoming a more complete fighter and that his future is even brighter with the help of the team. “Training’s been going good, I’ve been doing so much ground work with Ken, Vernon (White) and the Lion’s Den guys. It’s just like I used to focus solely on my stand up and now it’s backwards; I’m doing so much ground. I still like to stand, I think it’s more ego involved when your striking, knowing you have the ability to do that, but I don’t want to be the guy who gets out of his element on the ground. I want to continue to work on that and be well-rounded, all the really good fighters are well-rounded, there’s not an aspect that they lack, so I want to be able to compete with those guys.”

Richard continued, “I’ve come a long ways to be honest. It’s about getting comfortable, working under strikes, heavy guys, light guys, other people that have arsenals of submissions and wrestlers who are good with ground ‘n pounding. Just being comfortable and working for takedowns instead of being taken down all the time has really thrown off some people. I think this is the best choice I’ve made when I signed up and became a Lion’s Den member. Just to come in here and be able to train full-time is great, they flip the bill for everything here, it’s low-risk for a lot of people, as long as you have the heart and desire to do it, anybody can come out here and excel. You spend so much time every day training that there is nothing that can interfere with it other than more training.”

As for what’s next for Richard, his new multi-fight contract with KOTC has given him some security and it’s an opportunity he promises to take advantage of. “I might be fighting in December, that’s the date they gave me, December 3rd, I’m not sure of that yet. I do have a contract with them and if I win the next fight I’ll get a title fight in my third fight. That’s what I’m looking for, I’m hoping to make my name out there and keep rolling with this, especially with the publicity that King of the Cage is putting out there. I’m going to take advantage of that and see where it takes me.”

Unfortunately Richard didn’t get the opportunity to get on the mic after his fight was over, so he wanted to make sure to get his thanks in as the interview closed out. “I wanted to definitely thank Advanced Spinal in Reno for keeping me in line when everybody else is trying to pick me apart. I’d like to thank Bottoms Up, a new restaurant/bar in Reno, Max Muscle for the supplements, Bit Me mouthguards, Sprawl shorts, Konjo Fight Gear, and MMA Weekly, I want to thank you guys for always staying true and being really good about everything and honest. I want to definitely want to thank my wife for letting me do this, she gave me the drive and the ability, I would have probably be in jail fighting if she hadn’t supported me and pointed me in the right direction. She’s shown me loyalty and so I’ve got to show her the love too.”

Montoya concluded, “I’d like to put this out there, to any fighters interested we have the Lion’s Den tryouts coming out, you can go to KenShamrock.com to get information on that. I think the more fighters that come in, the fresh blood, the better for everybody. To the fans, hopefully if you check out my fight and it’s not what you expected, I think the next one will be a stand up fight because KOTC wants to see me bang. So hopefully if you didn’t see what you wanted in the last fight you’ll see it in the next one. I’ll be around for a long time, my name will be out there shortly and that’s what I’m hoping for.”