Paige VanZant could be making a return to MMA quicker than expected.
VanZant made headlines last year after she opted to sign with Bare Knuckle FC (BKFC) shortly after her UFC contract ended.
She is now set to make her bare-knuckle boxing debut against Britain Hart at BKFC: Knuckle Mania which takes place February 5.
However, she isn’t ruling out a return to MMA — especially after learning of a clause in her BKFC contract that would allow her to compete in one fight in her old sport.
“BKFC, they did give me the liberty in my contract to be able to take an MMA fight. I was informed of that by my manager, and I didn’t know that at first,” VanZant said in a recent interview (via MMA Junkie).
“At first, I was like, ‘No, I just want to do the boxing.’ But I think that, coming to American Top Team, it rebirthed my excitement and I now realize how good I am.”
Of course, she is still focused on the task at hand first which is Hart. But the passion to compete in MMA again still remains as she is leaving the door open for a return.
“I’m training with these coaches who believe in me,” VanZant explained. “Having them say they believe in me, and they train some of the best fighters in the entire world, and they look at me and they believe that I’m good.
“So that kinda sparked that passion all over the place. So yeah, maybe I will take an MMA fight. I’m strictly focused on the boxing right now, especially for this fight. That’s all I do. But, maybe. Let’s see. The door is open, so it’s definitely there.”
VanZant Fires Back At Critics
Many have questioned and are still questioning the move to BKFC for VanZant, especially as it is a brutal sport which leads to more facial damage than other combat sports.
However, VanZant has had enough of the doubts and criticism as she believes she can do whatever she wants with her face.
“You know what? I have, for the majority of my career – and I’ve been thinking about this – why have I kept my mouth shut so much about all the haters, and about all the hate and negativity I get?” she added. “My idea was, if you talk (expletive) about somebody, you should be willing to say that to their face. And not a single person who has said anything negative about me publicly has been willing to say it to my face, and I’ve seen people in person.
“All the negativity about ‘Oh! My face!’ Grow up! It’s a face, and it’s mine, and I can do whatever I want with it, and guess what, I’m still going to be beautiful, even if I get cut open. It’s not a big deal. … That’s so condescending to think of your beauty as being important.”
It will certainly be interesting to see her transition to the world of bare-knuckle boxing.