Former UFC women’s strawweight and flyweight Paige VanZant hasn’t fought in the UFC since July 2020, and doesn’t think she’ll ever compete in the octagon again.
VanZant entered the fight promotion with a lot of buzz. She was originally supposed to be a member of The Ultimate Fighter 20 in 2014, but was too young, at 20-years old, to participate on the reality series. She won her first three fights inside the octagon before losing to current strawweight champion Rose Namajunas.
VanZant lost three of her next five UFC bouts and inked a deal with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) in August 2020. With the move, VanZant closed the door on mixed martial arts.
“I know in my heart that I will never fight for them (UFC) again, just because they don’t pay enough. I don’t see the benefit of going back to the UFC. Right now, I’m fortunate enough, I built myself up to a specific place and I can take that and use it wherever I go,” VanZant told MMAFighting.com.
VanZant doesn’t have any animosity toward the fight promotion. Her time with the UFC led to other opportunities.
“I love the UFC,” VanZant said. “I love the organization. There’s a reason they are as successful as they are. There’s a reason they were able to get to this level. They have a well-oiled machine and they’re very, very good at it.”
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“I’m fortunate enough, I did build my name up,” she said. “I know how hard I worked in the UFC and I know how much dedication I had. I did all the appearances nobody else wanted to do. I traveled the world. Every weekend, I was in a different state doing appearances. I was fortunate enough, I did have that grind mentality to build my name up. I did social media, ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ really did what I could to build myself as a business and as a brand.
“So then when my contract ended with the UFC, I was able to go out there and be fortunate enough to sign with BKFC. They offered me a great contract. It opened the doors to all these other things that I wasn’t really able to do when I was with the UFC.”
Earlier this month, VanZant signed a deal with All Elite Wrestling (AEW). AEW president Tony Khan recently announced VanZant’s signing via social media.
It’s official! @paigevanzant is ALL ELITE!#AEWDynamite on @TBSNetwork pic.twitter.com/H6nzlCkBSg— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) March 10, 2022
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