Few fighters have a lengthy career in the UFC and test free agency, all by the age of 26. However that was the case for Paige VanZant, and a year later she says that she could not be happier with her decision to part ways with the promotion.
VanZant entered the UFC cage for the first time before she was even legally allowed to drink, signing with the promotion with a 3-1 record. She went on to become somewhat of a household name with various high profile fights and appearances, before she parted ways with the promotion last year, with her record now being 8-5.
Speaking in a recent interview, PVZ explained that she has no regrets about testing the waters of free agency, and signing with Bare Knuckle FC. She says that her financial future is much more secure here, and that she feels like she has started a trend of people testing trying to earn their worth.
“I had my whole career was built off the UFC,” VanZant said. “I was in the UFC for like six years. It was very nerve-wracking. There weren’t a lot of people who left the UFC in the prime of their career. There were a lot of veterans that had left the UFC that were kind of on that tail end, looking for a few more fights.
“For me, I was a free agent at 26 years old. I was really young. It was nerve-wracking to know you’re leaving the powerhouse of combat sports. But now I know it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Since I’ve left, I’ve seen multiple fighters leave the UFC — and it’s not a diss at the UFC necessarily, but I think it’s more an awakening in fighters knowing there’s money out there and we’re going to be compensated for what we’re doing.”
Paige VanZant Makes More From BKFC
Considering her record and lack of experience, Paige VanZant actually made pretty decent money fighting in the UFC, which is part of the reason they eventually split. She is a marketable young lady, and at 27 years old now, she still has tons of potential.
Apparently it was the right call for her to test free agency, as she went on to explain. She says that BKFC is paying her more than her UFC contract, even though she lost her initial outing to Britain Hart.
I will say when I signed with BKFC, the bare-knuckle boxing, I was making more money than I had made in my entire UFC career,” VanZant said. “Now I’m making more money than my entire BKFC contract in like a month. It’s pretty crazy.”
“I don’t have to, when I’m done fighting, get a regular job and have to go back to work. I’m not planning for when I retire to go to college or try to figure out what’s next in my life. I’m able to just fight and save money and plan when I want to retire, I can just retire.”
As hard is it may be to believe, it seems that Paige VanZant is happy with her decision to sign with BKFC, as she prepares to take on fellow UFC vet Rachel Ostovich. That being said, there is still hope for a UFC return for 12-gauge, some point down the line if both parties are interested.