Several years ago, Dana White touted Paige VanZant (8-5) as a rising star with the “it factor” that the UFC loves.
But after UFC 251, after VanZant’s first Octagon appearance since January 2019 – a first-round submission loss to Amanda Ribas (9-1) – the UFC President is changing his tune. Speaking to the media after the event, White suggested that she test the MMA free agency waters.
White explained that while he still likes the 26-year-old flyweight, he’s been unimpressed by her complaints about not getting paid enough while “fighting inconsistently.” VanZant has fought only three times since 2017. She has lost four of her last six fights in two different weight classes.
“I like Paige,” White said, via MMAJunkie. “I like Paige. It’s like (Curtis) Blaydes – when Blaydes fought. When you talk all that stuff, ‘I’m not getting paid enough,’ and (you’re) fighting inconsistently, one time in the last year (because of injuries), and then get smoked in the first round of the fight, she should definitely test free agency.”
Dana White likes Paige VanZant but think she should test free agency after #UFC251.
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) July 12, 2020
VanZant has been fighting professionally since she was 18 and made her UFC debut in 2014 at the age of 20. Within a year she was on a three-fight win streak and considered one of the rising stars in the promotion.
But a loss to Rose Namajunas by submission in 2015 swiftly ended her chances at a title shot. She recovered the following year with a second-round knockout of Bec Rawlings, earning a Performance of the Night bonus in the process.
VanZant then fought Michelle Waterson later that year and lost by submission in the first round. From there, the aforementioned struggles only continued.
But at 26 years of age VanZant still has plenty of time to restore her reputation if she wants to keep fighting. She just might have try to elsewhere
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