Sijara Eubanks returns to action at this Friday’s UFC Fight Night 131 event when she takes on Lauren Murphy on the preliminary card.
Eubanks (2-2) makes her first promotional appearance after withdrawings from her flyweight title fight against Nicco Montano this past December due to kidney failure. The “Sarge” was one of the most impressive fighters on season 26 of The Ultimate Fighter, coached by Eddie Alvarez, and taking out the likes of Roxanne Modafferi, DeAnna Bennett and Maia Stevenson.
Ahead of Friday’s fight, Eubanks spoke with Sherdog.com and revealed she isn’t impressed with how Nicco Montano has handled being UFC flyweight champion.
“In the house Nicco was a nice girl. I didn’t really talk to her much. She was on the other team. Since she’s won the belt she’s been pretty quiet,” Eubanks told Sherdog. “I don’t think she’s done much as champion. I really don’t she’s done much. She said she’s injured, she’s got a lot of stuff going on. At the same time, injuries happen in this sport. I don’t think she’s really done what she’s had to do to keep herself relevant. It’s a brand new division. You won ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’
“I probably would have done things different. I would have at least tried to stay relevant other ways. If you can’t fight, do some interviews, make some appearances, come to some fights. Do something. Just to keep her name a little bit more relevant,” Eubanks continued. “Let people know, ‘I’m here and I’m the champ and things don’t change just because I’m not well right now.’ I think the perception is that she’s kind of ducking and hiding and not really doing much. I don’t know what the truth is and what’s going on.”
The 33-year-old believes Montano’s reign as champ will be short-lived, she is confident herself or Valentina Shevchenko will take the belt from her in the near future.
“As far as whether or not she’s gonna be a long-reigning champ, I don’t think so,” Eubanks said. “Because I know Valentina has got her in her sights and I don’t see Nicco beating Valentina. And I’m champing at the bit. I’m right behind both of them. I don’t think Nicco’s gonna spend much time there because one of us is gonna take her out.”
UFC Fight Night 131 takes place this Friday June 1 from the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, New York, United States. The preliminary card featuring Banks vs. Murphy will be aired live on Fox Sports 1 from 8pm EST.