Paige VanZant may not be in the title shot mix right now, but the former strawweight and now flyweight intends to test free agency when her current UFC deal is up. If you don’t think other promotions will be very, very interested in signing “12 Gauge”, you clearly haven’t been paying attention…
VanZant’s currently sidelined
As it stands right now, it’s not clear really when VanZant will be ready to fight again. Following her submission win over Rachel Ostovich this past January, the 25-year-old broke her arm again earlier this summer. It marked the third time VanZant had to undergo surgery to repair the arm. When VanZant does fight one more time, it will be the final bout on her current UFC deal.
“12 Gauge” wants to test free agency
“It’s the last fight on my current UFC contract so I’ll be fighting it out,” VanZant said. “I think I’m just curious to see what I can do. I feel like I want to prove to the UFC what I’m worth, and I think it’s going to take one more fight for me to do that, especially because fight fans are so – you’re easily forgotten in the fight world. They watch a fight happen and they’re already focused on the one that’s happening next week, so I want it to be fresh in their minds going into a contract negotiation, not fresh off of a broken arm.”
“I still haven’t gotten the all-clear to train,” VanZant said. “I’m hoping to get cleared by Wednesday to start doing a little bit more with my arm. I’m not supposed to hold anything more than a coffee cup or a cell phone, like, in my right hand. It’s still extremely limited, so I did start hitting pads just with my left hand and with my legs and knees and doing as much as I can, but I’m hoping to get the all-clear soon.”
Now, some might argue that VanZant is risking a lot, by not signing an extension now. The idea being that if she loses her next bout, her bargaining power will be reduced.
But, even if that happens, there’s no question that VanZant will command plenty of interest on the free agent market. In addition to her fighting skills, VanZant is a mainstream draw due to her appearances on shows like “Dancing With the Stars” and “Chopped”. She’s also done some broadcasting, wrote an autobiography and is coming off a photo shoot in SI’s swimsuit edition. So, don’t be surprised if the UFC tables a hefty offer to keep her on the roster.