When a fighter makes the jump from part time pro to full time athlete, life can come at them fast. Winning and losing becomes feed your family or go home hungry. Seattle fighter Amy Montenegro knows this all too well. After trying out for The Ultimate Fighter Season 20, Montenegro was one of the few who made it passed round one of the tryouts. Before she knew it she was being put through extended medical testing, photo shoots and screen tests. In the end, Montenegro didn’t make the cast but the experience was enough to let her know it was time for her to up her game. As a wife, mother and full time nurse, she had spent the first half of her professional career only being able to train two days a week. Even though she was having success with these arrangements, she knew that to be successful at the highest levels of the sport she would have to dedicate herself to being a fighter first.
With her shift from part time to full time, Montenegro made a change in fight camps joining up with Gracie Barra NW in Seattle. The Gracie Barra team is world-renowned on the jiu jitsu circuit and on the West Coast they have become a staple in many fight friendly cities. Montenegro told Oregon Sports News that with her new fight team, she has found great improvement in her jiu jitsu as well as her striking. But what she seemed most excited about was her improved strength and conditioning.
“[I’ve learned] how important it is to have a good strength and conditioning program in place and I learned that lifting weights [could] actually help to keep my weight low, while improving my game. I was able to put on a lot of lean muscle while dropping my walking weight [by] about 10-15 lbs.”
In addition to these added wrinkles, Montenegro is fortunate to have a husband who is also a professional fighter. Her husband, Dex Montenegro, has been able to travel to her fights with her and helps her to not only focus on her opponents but allows her to have a connection with home that many fighters crave when they head out to fight camp. But Dex is not the only professional fighter from which Montenegro draws support. About an hour and half away from Seattle in Olympia, veteran fighter and UFC strawweight Lisa Ellis welcomes visits from Montenegro with open arms. Ellis has fought many top strawweights and has very highly regarded wrestling skills. Having fought in the UFC and gone through The Ultimate Fighter, Ellis is a great resource for Montenegro.
Montenegro’s most recent win came inside the Invicta FC cage at Invicta FC 11. After signing with Invicta, Montenegro stepped into the cage and put on a display that showed just how valuable her new training regimen has been. In a fight that went the distance, Montenegro showed she is powerful, she responds well in adverse positions, she has a good gas tank and she understands the importance of positioning. She landed brutal knee strikes throughout the fight and controlled the action against the cage throughout most of the fifteen minutes. The hard fought victory has left many fans asking to see her back in the Invicta cage very soon. Montenegro told Oregon Sports News that she too hopes to fight sooner rather than later.
“[I] would love the opportunity to fight on the Invicta FC 13 fight card [on] July 10th in Vegas…I am used to keeping my fighting schedule pretty active, I like to fight every 2-4 months so July would be perfect! Also I [am] part time at my nursing job so fighting is a way of putting food on the table for my family and I! There are lots of amazing potential matchups for me [at Invicta].”
Montenegro is right about there being a lot of great potential matchups for her at Invicta. At straweight fights with Lacey Shuckman or top prospect Alexa Grasso would be exciting matchups that could push any of these prospects toward a potential fight with a top five opponent. Then there is also the prospect of Montenegro fighting down a weight class and making the move to atomweight. Montenegro and her fight team seem to believe that she could make the weight and it seems like if that would get her in the cage sooner, both Montenegro and her fans would be very happy about that. Amy Montenegro wants to keep fighting and keep winning. The part time pro label has been shed and this full time athlete is ready to show the world just how dominant she can truly be.