Paige VanZant feels she has found her home in the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship.
After a six-year UFC run, Paige VanZant is fully invested in the next chapter of her combat-sports career. Despite having a nearly .500 record during her UFC run, VanZant became one of the most popular fighters in the sport through her social media presence and mainstream appeal. And this popularity no doubt played a major role in landing VanZant the most lucrative deal in her fighting career.
“I’m here for a reason,” VanZant told reporters in a recent media scrum. “I was in the UFC for six years getting paid $40,000 (to show) and $40,000 (to win), and now I’m getting 10 times that doing what I love. So obviously, I’m not going anywhere. I’m very happy fighting here and I’m excited to fight.”
VanZant’s Decision About More Than Money
As someone who was able to enjoy a lengthy run in the premiere mixed martial arts organization and also grow her fanbase on a national level with a stint on Dancing With the Stars, the upside of signing VanZant was clear to several promotions. In the end, VanZant’s decision was narrowed down to Bellator and BKFC.
With her personal connections to Bellator, the reach of the promotion, and its history of signing ex-UFC talent, Bellator seemed to be the most probable destination for VanZant. Then, the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model threw the MMA world a curveball by deciding to get her hands dirtier than ever before.
“I was really fortunate coming from the UFC that I did have so many organizations (that) reached out, and I truly wasn’t sure where my career was going to go,” VanZant said. “I had two big offers that were in competition: this one or Bellator, which my husband (Austin Vanderford) fights for. I know I had a lot of people – my coaches, my husband – they all wanted me to go to Bellator. But I had to go where my passion lies, and I truly know this is the organization I belong with. This is the one I was most passionate about. This is where I see myself being the most successful.
“I absolutely love my striking, it’s what I was known for in the UFC, so I’m excited to come in here and show how tough I am.”
Paige VanZant’s first opportunity to showcase this toughness will come at BKFC 16 tomorrow night, February 5, against Britain Hart.
Do you think Paige VanZant made the right decision by signing with BKFC?