The last two years have been full of milestones for Michelle Montague.
She qualified to represent New Zealand in wrestling at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, but was forced to withdraw due to injury.
This year, she was crowned amateur mixed martial arts world champion.
The 25-year-old from Matamata took out the women's lightweight division at the World Championships in Bahrain last week, winning every fight by stoppage.
Standing atop the podium in Bahrain, gold medal around her neck, was a stark contrast from the disappointment of being forced out of the competition on the Gold Coast a year ago.
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But while she was recently crowned a world champion, Montague said she was in no hurry to join the professional ranks.
"We're only six fights into amateur so there's a long way to go before that's in consideration or even a possibility," she told the Herald. "We've got a lot more time to stay amateur and pick up skills and make the whole game more even."
Montague, nicknamed 'the Wild One', has embraced the world of combat sports since leaving her rugby-playing days in the rear view mirror. Finding familiarity in grappling, she has excelled on the mat while he striking game is coming along nicely.
Her striking was on show in her opening fight of the tournament in Bahrain in which she fought the best part of three rounds on her feet, before getting a TKO win.
'This moment...I am speechless': Kiwi claims gold at MMA World Champs
"Going in that wasn't the game plan obviously, but once we were in there and able to do damage in the first two rounds standing, it was quite fun to stay standing the whole time then just at the end finish it off."
She won her other fights by first round submission.
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Montague is one of a number of Kiwis making their mark on the combat sports world. Among them is her Core MMA teammate Luke Jumeau and a host of sparring partners at City Kickboxing, who have established themselves as some of the top talents in the UFC, while fellow lightweight Genah Fabian made the Professional Fighters League playoffs earlier in the year.
Fabian, now based in California, was one of four fighters to make the playoffs of the $1 million tournament, but was forced to withdraw from her semifinal on medical grounds. However, during the regular season she took the opportunity to show off her ability.
"She's one of my idols," Montague said of Fabian. "She's got unreal striking, she's a solid wrestler and grappler as well, and she looks epic as well when she does everything so it's a pretty cool role model to have – out of New Zealand to go out there a live the dream."
While a similar path might appear in Montague's future, for now she's focusing on a handful of new challenges on the horizon with local jiu-jitsu competitions in the coming weeks before the Oceania wrestling and MMA championships early next year, and, finally the Olympic wrestling qualifiers in Morocco in April.
"That's the next big goal to work towards and really focus on. After that I can reassess and be like ok now we're focusing just on our MMA game."