Paige VanZant underwent arm surgery for the third time last week and is expected to be sidelined for about 12 weeks. With so much time on her hands, she is considering a move back down to strawweight for the final fight on her UFC contract.
VanZant (8-4 MMA, 5-3 UFC) has struggled to make the cut down to 115 pounds on numerous occasions, which prompted her move up to flyweight. She split her two appearances competing at 125 pounds, losing to Jessica-Rose Clark via unanimous decision and then rebounding with an impressive submission win over Rachael Ostovich one year later.
Now VanZant finds herself in the recovery process once again. With all this time ahead of her, it’s time to work full time with a nutritionist.
“Now that I have so much time, I can get my diet in check and work with a nutritionist and cut down to 115,” VanZant told MMA Junkie. “And have my last fight on my contract and try strawweight out again with a full-time nutritionist. I think there are really big fights in the strawweight division for me and really big fights at 125 for me.”
With one fight left on her deal, VanZant was hoping to make a statement, but those plans will have to be put on hold as she recovers from yet another surgery on her arm. She elbowed a training partner in the head, which resulted in another non-union fracture. She though it was best to undergo surgery so she can guarantee a comeback at full strength.
“I had a non-union fracture again but in a completely different spot,” VanZant said. “So, they said yeah, eventually it will heal, but it’s like rolling the dice. Like it could be nine months before the crack fills in. I had options of sitting and hoping that sometime in nine months it’ll heal or having surgery, and knowing I’ll be back and able to train in three months.”
With the exciting news of VanZant’s current home, Gracie Barra Portland, collaborating with American Top Team, she hopes to head East to ATT in South Florida for some training.
Gracie Barra Portland is now officially American Top Team West Coast, and VanZant hopes that now, with a bigger gym name, people will start to show the team more respect.
“It helps to have the franchise name,” VanZant said. “We have a huge roster of UFC fighters, Bellator fighters, just really talented people. But because we’re working with Gracie Barra, everyone thought it was a jiu-jitsu academy, which we had a full fight team, so it’s cool now that we have the name, and we can have fighters come out and train with us.”
“We’re hoping to go down to Coconut Creek,” VanZant added. “I was going to go down with Fabiano, our head coach, and our owner Brandon. Austin and I were going to go down and help with cross training and stuff like that.”
For now, VanZant will have to hold back on her plans, but a trip down to ATT, one of the top gyms in the world with the likes of bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes and former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, she won’t be short of world-class training partners.
“I would like to go once I can start training,” VanZant said. “I’m down and out for probably another 12 weeks before I can hit the gym super hard, and I can start training full time.”
That won’t deter her, though, as she is determined to come back stronger at the end of the year.
“It’s making me more driven,” VanZant said. “I’ve had longer layoffs than this, so I’m just going to suck it up and stop whining and feeling sorry for myself because I do know there are so many people that wish they can be in my shoes. It’s knowing how blessed I am.
“This just shows the world how tough I am. If you didn’t think I was tough, here you go. I’m not even questioning what’s next for me. I’m just taking it easy for a little while and not messing things up if I’m going to fight again.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
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