Lauren Murphy Slams Critics Who Think Nicco Montano is Ducking Valentina Shevchenko

Top five ranked UFC women’s flyweight contender Lauren Murphy has a real problem with how Nicco Montano has been portrayed recently.

While Murphy will hope to secure her own shot at Montano’s flyweight title when she meets Sijara Eubanks this Friday at UFC Fight Night from Utica, N.Y., she still can’t fathom why so many people have lashed out against her former housemate from The Ultimate Fighter.

In recent weeks, Montano has faced a mountain of criticism because she’s been out of action since winning the title in December while dealing with various health issues such as an injured foot as well as recent surgery to remove her tonsils.

Montano has been taunted frequently by top ranked contender Valentina Shevchenko and another report claimed the UFC was getting fed up with her repeated delays in booking a title defense. UFC president Dana White later refuted that the promotion was somehow upset with her and Montano fired back on her own in a response to the story.

As far as Murphy is concerned, anybody saying that Montano is suddenly scared to defend her belt because she has an opponent like Shevchenko in front of her just doesn’t know the reigning flyweight champion very well.

“I think that people who think Nicco is scared are out of their f–king minds,” Murphy told MMAWeekly. “I lived with her, I trained with her, I fought her and she’s not scared of s–t. She really enjoys the challenge. She loves to fight. She wants to step up and meet those challenges that are put in front of her. Anybody that watched [The Ultimate Fighter] has seen that in her. I think she proved it on TUF. I don’t know why all of a sudden people are doubting it now. She’s been pretty open about her health issues, like whatever’s going on with her and I don’t know why she’s sick and what’s happening with that but when she says she’s sick and that’s why she can’t fight, I totally believe that.

“I don’t think that she’s afraid of Valentina [Shevchenko] and when they do fight, I’m not counting her out of that fight either. I think that’s going to be a great fight and I honestly can’t wait to see it.”

Murphy doesn’t need to build up some fake grudge against Montano just because she lost to her on the reality show that helped determine the first ever UFC women’s flyweight champion.

In fact, Murphy says her respect for Montano only grew after that fight as they became friendly during filming while also helping each other during training sessions.

While her ultimate goal would be to avenge that loss in a title fight, Murphy doesn’t have a foul word to say about Montano much less believing that she’s somehow avoiding a title defense because there’s a tough challenge awaiting her.

“I don’t have anything bad to say about Nicco. She beat me in the house and even after that, I don’t want to say we were friends but we were definitely able to be friendly with each other and respect for each other,” Murphy said. “I have a great deal of respect for Nicco.

“I think people that think she’s scared or they’re just buying into the bulls–t. I don’t know why anybody would believe that.”