Fit-again forward Navidi is one of five changes made by Head Coach Danny Wilson as Cardiff Blues aim for a crucial victory in the first part of a big Pool 3 doubler-header with the French side over the next seven days.
A new-look front row means prop Sam Hobbs and hooker Kristian Dacey will pack down alongside Taufa’ao Filise.
Lock James Down is paired with New Zealander Jarrad Hoeata in the second row, with Lou Reed ruled out of the game as he continues return to play protocols.
Navidi’s comeback game sees the versatile Josh Turnbull move to Number Eight, with a leg injury forcing Manoa Vosawai out of the European encounter.
Lloyd Williams is handed the captaincy and will play alongside Rhys Patchell who moves to fly half with Dan Fish returning at full back in the final change.
Sam Warburton, Cory Allen, Gareth Anscombe, Ellis Jenkins and Blaine Scully are ruled out through injury and Matthew Rees is suspended.
Head Coach Danny Wilson said: “Montpellier boast an extremely powerful squad full of internationals and household names.
“They have already secured some impressive results in the Top14 this season and we know whatever team comes to Cardiff they will provide us with a big test.
“Montpellier showed in the first half of their opening pool game with Harlequins what they are capable of and it is a great challenge to play them at home and away in the Altrad Stadium in the South of France in the coming week.
“On top of the European games we also have the Welsh derbies looming large on the horizon. It’s a big month ahead and a series of fixtures we are all excited about.”
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Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Tom James, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lloyd Williams (c); 1 Sam Hobbs, 2 Kristian Dacey, 3 Taufa’ao Filise, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 5 James Down, 6 Macauley Cook, 7 Josh Navidi, 8 Josh Turnbull
Replacements: 16 Ethan Lewis, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 Scott Andrews, 20 Cam Dolan, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Garyn Smith