Paige VanZant Plans To Explore Free Agency After Next Fight
The ever-chipper and always plucky Paige VanZant is excited to get back in the cage. Four successive arm injuries have kept her from fighting for more than a year. But speaking to The South China Morning Post, ’12 Gauge’ Paige seemed undaunted and excited to return to fighting.
“This was the worst and most monotonous process. The first few times I broke it, I had to have surgery. This time I didn’t, but I had an over-the-elbow cast for almost eight weeks. It feels good to have my arm back.
“I’m only 26… I’m not going anywhere. There’s this conversation that I would have a short career, that Hollywood would be calling my name. Of course they are, but as a fighter, my passion is to compete, and that’s what I’m going to do until that passion is no longer there.”
VanZant has a brand that MMA fans have come to respect. While she is Instagram-famous and world-renowned for her beauty, Paige is also a proven grinder whose dues have been paid in gruelling wins and bloody losses in the UFC. But PVZ says she might be looking to make her return elsewhere.
“Change is very hard, but I’m looking for the best opportunity for my future and I don’t know what that is,” VanZant explained. “I think it’s going to take negotiation with the UFC and negotiations with other organisations to know who’s going to offer me the brighter future. It might come down to other factors outside just a dollar figure. It’s really about who’s going to propel me to the best of their ability.
“There could be a few factors behind that. I do well in fighting. I do well in Hollywood. I do well in all kinds of ventures that come my way. A lot of it will be about who’s going to open those doors for me.”
Commenting on the negotiations ahead, VanZant said she believes the process will be a lot easier than most people think.
“There’s a lot of amazing organisations out there. If there wasn’t, I would never be testing free agency. I do honestly have a really good relationship with the UFC. I appreciate everything they’ve done for me. The hard thing is, other than my compensation, I am very happy with the UFC. So it’s not going to be as crazy as a negotiation process as a lot of people think. There’s a lot to talk about, but I think it’s going to be a fairly easy conversation.”
Of course, Paige’s arm seems about as injury-resistant as Dominick Cruz’s knee. However, she remains undaunted and confident that she has plenty of time to crack the upper-crust of the rankings and someday become a champion.
“This is a reminder to all the organisations, I’m only 26. This is a reminder to all the fans and all the other fighters that I’m not going anywhere. There’s this conversation that I would have a short career, that Hollywood would be calling my name. Of course they are, but as a fighter, my passion is to compete, and that’s what I’m going to do until that passion is no longer there.
“I’m 100 per cent confident [I’ll become a champion],” VanZant proclaimed. “I’ve been in this sport for like ten years now. I’ve been training and being competitive and I still have at least another ten years left. I know how determined I am, and I know the God-given talent I’ve been blessed with, and I’m not going to quit until I fulfil everything God’s given me.”
And while the coronavirus crisis has slowed down the training regimen of many professional MMA fighters, a quick peak through PVZ’s instagram shows her hard at work and excited to make her return. The only question is: where?
Where would you like to see Paige VanZant fight if she leaves the UFC?