Paige VanZant wants nothing more than to fight again as soon as possible.
After being sidelined nearly 18 months due to injury, VanZant returned to action at UFC 251, but barely got the chance to break a sweat when she suffered a first-round armbar loss to Amanda Ribas.
Afterward, the 26-year-old VanZant offered no excuses for her defeat and paid respect to Ribas on a job well done. That said, she’s anxious to wash the bad taste of that loss from her mouth, which is why she will likely push back a previously planned surgery on her arm in order to sign a new contract and get back in action sooner rather than later.
“I don’t want to have surgery again,” VanZant told MMA Fighting. “Before the fight, I had said I might need to have one more arm surgery to feel 100 percent, but even through this, I do feel 100 percent, and I’m hoping to sign a new fight promotion with somebody and fight this year if I can.”
VanZant has already endured multiple surgeries on her arm, which was first broken in early 2019 during a fight against Jessica-Rose Clark. Since then, she’s spent more time in doctors’ offices than the octagon, which adds to her desire to fight again this year rather than scheduling another surgery to have the plate in her arm removed.
“I want to fight as soon as possible,” VanZant said. “In my mind, I’m going to go ahead and delete that last fight and start over. I don’t know how long this negotiation stuff goes.
“I’m hoping quick, cause I definitely don’t have any injuries. I don’t even know if I got hit, so I’m ready to fight again.”
It’s been well documented that VanZant’s most recent fight was the last on her current contract with the UFC. She’s now allowing her management team to discuss what comes next with potential suitors, though she’s not opposed to returning to the UFC if the right offer is made.
More than anything, VanZant is just anxious to prove herself again, which wasn’t a luxury she was afforded in her last fight, thanks to Ribas pulling off the quick submission.
“I’m sad about the way it went, but this is the first time in my entire career where, I [usually] get emotional after losses, and most times I’ll cry for like a week, but this fight, I only cried for like an hour after the loss,” she said. “For the first time in my life, I finally realized the losses definitely don’t define you.
“Maybe I did have to hit rock bottom. It’s just going to make my comeback story that much greater coming off a loss and an arm injury, and I have 10-plus years to fight and show off how good I am.”