Former UFC star Paige VanZant has insisted that she has nothing to prove in-between the ropes ahead of her bare-knuckle boxing return later this month.
At one point in time, VanZant was considered a hot prospect inside the Octagon. But after going 3-0 under the UFC banner, including a victory over Felice Herrig, “12 Gauge” went 2-4 across her next six outings before exiting the promotion in 2020.
Soon after, she announced the next step of her combat sports career — a move to the rising Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship organization. But in two appearances, the 28-year-old has failed to return to form with the fists, falling to decision losses to Britain Hart and Rachael Ostovich.
In the year since her defeat to Ostovich, VanZant has continued her ventures outside of her fighting career, which has included a lucrative explicit content site and signing with professional wrestling company AEW.
But while many would point to her outside successes as evidence that her motivation for fighting might be on the decline, VanZant says otherwise.
During a recent interview with GiveMeSport, VanZant said that she’s not returning to the violent world of bare-knuckle boxing because she has something to prove, but because she simply wants to fight.
“I’ve put myself in a great position to be honest,” VanZant said. “I’ve been smart financially. I’ve put myself in a position where I get to spend my time doing what I want, and that’s the true definition of wealth, being able to spend your time doing whatever you truly want to do with it and for me, I want to fight.
“I like fighting, I like fighting in bare-knuckle boxing, and it’s not to prove anything to anybody nor myself… I have nothing to prove, I’m just going out there and doing my thing, I want to be the best possible toughest person that I can and this is where I see my true value,” VanZant added.
VanZant Excited To Go To War With Fellow “Brawler” Sigala
If VanZant is to secure the chance to continuing throwing down under the BKFC banner, her next outing could be a crucial one. While the promotion’s president, David Feldman, previously branded it a “must-win,” he’s since suggested that a strong performance in defeat could be enough for the former UFC star to maintain her place on the roster.
While VanZant certainly isn’t thinking about the possibility of moving to 0-3 in the organization, she’s expecting a Fight of the Night-worthy performance, win or lose.
“12 Gauge” is set to cross the pond for BKFC London on August 20, where she’ll face Charisa Sigala. After branding her upcoming opponent a fellow “brawler,” VanZant suggested that England’s capital will be in for some entertainment come fight night.
“I think it’s going to be an exciting fight,” VanZant said. “Both me and this girl, we’re both brawlers, and we both always bring it. She recently had a war with another girl who’s fighting for the title, so I know she’s going to be extremely tough. I think it’s going to be a really, really exciting fight. It definitely has ‘Fight of the Night’ potential for sure.
“Beyond that, it’s going to be an amazing card, so I hope everyone in London comes out. Obviously, you’ve got MVP and Mike Perry, that could be one of the greatest fights of all time.”
The card is scheduled to be headlined by the BKFC debut of Bellator MMA welterweight Michael “Venom” Page, who will collide with former UFC fighter Mike Perry in front of his home crowd in London.
Do you think Paige VanZant will register her first BKFC win on August 20?