Due to a complicated arm injury, Paige VanZant hasn’t competed since January 2019, but the flyweight will make her return to action against Amanda Ribas at UFC 251 this Saturday on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi and there’s a very real possibility that it will be the last time she enters the octagon.
Her fight against Ribas marks the final bout on her UFC contract and VanZant has made it clear that she intends to test free agency following the event. And for her to continue fighting, VanZant says it needs to be ‘worth it’.
“I feel like I am betting on myself here,” VanZant told MMA Fighting. “You don’t know your value until you test it. I want to know what people see my value as.
“I feel like more than ever, especially with me hurting myself, that if I’m going to be a professional fighter, I need it to be worth it for me. It needs to be worth me breaking my arm every day and walking into the cage and bleeding and sacrificing.”
In terms of it being ‘worth it’ for her to continue fighting, Paige VanZant is speaking on the financial side of things, as she, like many other UFC fighters in recent times, has begun to take a deeper look at how she has been compensated throughout her UFC career.
While she claims she has nothing against the UFC, VanZant also made it clear that she’s interested in finding her true value on the open market and being paid accordingly.
“I’ve added up all the money I’ve made in the UFC over six years, and I could have just had a regular job with the same pay,” VanZant said. “I’m so thankful for everything the UFC has done for me, the platform they’ve given me. This is nothing against the UFC. But the contract I signed is what I signed and I know I need to honor it. That’s why I’m fighting this last fight out and I was never trying to break it early.
“It’s important to fight this fight out, honor my contract, and then say listen this is my value and this is what I need to be paid to make it worth it.”
Coming off of a victory over Rachael Ostovich, VanZant was looking for a tough fight and against the 9-1 Ribas on Saturday, she’s hoping to prove to the UFC what she brings to the table.
“I wanted to fight somebody who was really good,” VanZant said. “Somebody who was ranked. Someone who it really mattered when I beat them.
“This is the last fight on my UFC contract and I want to be able to go to the UFC and be like ‘listen, this is how good I am. Yeah you haven’t seen me fight in a while and I break my arm a lot and I’ve always done other things but ultimately I’m a good fighter.’ I think this is a fight if I beat Amanda, it will prove that.”