For those of you who do not know Darrell Montague, you better get used to hearing his name. The 25-year-old flyweight from Chino, CA showed potential from day one when he knocked out his first opponent by spinning backfist. At 12-2 in his career, his only losses have come to UFC fighters Robbie Peralta and Ian McCall, and he has a win over current UFC flyweight Ulysses Gomez.
Recently, he went to Japan and took on veteran Mamoru Yamaguchi, who he beat. Now he looks toward the future, which hopefully includes a shot in the UFC. With a talent like Montague, it is most likely a question of when he makes it to the Octagon and not an if.
Can you start off by telling us a little about your history and what made you get into the sport of MMA?
I think like a lot of people in my age group can remember watching UFC 1 and 2. Those were a great introduction, and coupled with being a fan of martial arts movies and WWF, I learned the one-on-one competition spirit. Manny Tapia (a former WEC fighter) was my assistant coach for wrestling during high school, and he helped get me into the sport.
You have had a great career even though you have only been fighting for four years professionally. What do you attribute your success to?
Just putting in hard work and being at the right place at the right time. I always try to challenge myself against the right opponent.
How do you choose the right opponent?
The fight that pays the most, but in all honesty the hardest fight you can find.
Who would you like to fight next?
An opponent high in the rankings, or who has been high in the rankings. Whoever can help me make it to the UFC.
How was fighting in Japan for the first time?
It was a great experience. Much different fighting in a silent arena and the culture is much different. So, it was definitely an experience going out there to fight.
Does it make you want to travel to other countries for bouts? Anywhere specific?
Anywhere anyone wants to send me to fight, I am always game. I would love to go to Brazil, though.
Yamaguchi was a big win for you. How does it rank for you in your career?
I was always a big fan of his when I was younger watching his fights. So it was an honor to fight him in his home country. I believe it was the best win so far in my career.
Were you surprised by the split decision verdict? Were you nervous going to the judges?
No, I thought I had won the fight, and in the arena they had announced it as an unanimous decision with two judges scoring it 30-27 and the third 29-28(for Montague). I don’t know what they were trying to pull, but I did not know it was a split decision until I went on Sherdog.com later. That was when I saw it was put down as a split decision, but I was confident I had won going into the decision.
With Tachi Palace (where Montague is champion) closing its doors, where do you want to fight?
Whatever organization can put together the biggest fight possible. The goal is to make it to the UFC, but VTJ (Vale Tudo Japan) may have me fight in April.
Some websites have you ranked highly in the top ten flyweights in the world. Why do you think you have not been signed by the UFC yet?
Your answer is as good as mine. I really do not know why. Maybe it is a marketability thing – that I do not talk enough – or they could just want to see a few more fights out of me.
If you were signed by the UFC, who would be a dream first opponent?
I am not sure exactly who they have signed, but Ian McCall, I would love to fight him again. I believe I have gotten a lot better and he has not.
What ways do you believe that you have gotten better?
Learned to be a lot more patient in the ring and wait for the right moments. Just my overall game has gotten a lot better.
What do you think of the UFC flyweight title bout between Demetrious Johnson and John Dodson?
I am going to take a nap during it. They are going to be like two magnets repelling, where they stay just far enough away from each other that they do not engage. It is going to be a five-round dance battle.
Thank you for your time. Is their any sponsors or people you would like to thank?
Everyone at Millennia MMA and World Sports Management.