‘It Was Nerve-Wracking’ – Paige VanZant Talks About Her Decision to Leave the UFC

Published 06/30/2021, 11:05 AM EDT
SACRAMENTO, CA – DECEMBER 16: Paige VanZant poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in inside the Golden 1 Center Arena on December 16, 2016 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


Paige VanZant was an integral part of the UFC women’s division throughout the late 2010s. However, following her UFC 251 loss against Amanda Ribas, the fighter left the UFC. Since then ’12 Gauge’ has joined the Bare Knuckle Fighting championship and recently made her debut at the BKFC: Knucklemania main event against Britain Hart.

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UFC is one of the biggest combat sports promotions in the world. Therefore, VanZant’s decision to leave the UFC at such a young age came as a surprise for everyone. Recently during an interview, VanZant talks about her decision to leave the UFC and how she has been faring ever since.

She said, “I had my whole career, was built off the UFC. I was in the UFC for like six years. It was very nerve-wracking. There weren’t a lot of people who left the UFC in the prime of their careers. There were a lot of veterans that had left the UFC that was kind of on that tail end, looking for a few more fights.”

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“For me, I was a free agent at 26 years old. I was really young. It was nerve-wracking to know you’re leaving the powerhouse of combat sports. But now I know it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Since I’ve left, I’ve seen multiple fighters leave the UFC — and it’s not a diss at the UFC necessarily, but I think it’s more an awakening in fighters knowing there’s money out there and we’re going to be compensated for what we’re doing.”

Paige VanZant talks about living comfortably and earning money

While Van Zant is now pretty happy with her decision to leave the UFC, she was not so confident back then. ’12 Gauge’ knew that leaving such a big promotion and starting fresh somewhere else was going to be a challenge. However, the fighter took the risk and is very content with where she is in life today.

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She said, “You see, the fight purse right, but we don’t get paid to train. We show up we’ve to pay our gym, our trainer all of our expenses for everything. And to be able to live comfortably and know that I don’t have to when I’m done fighting get a regular job and have to go back to work.”

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“I’m not planning on when I retire to go back to college or try to figure out what’s next in my life. I am able to just fight and save money and when I wanna retire, I can just retire.”

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Paras Pande

379 articles

Paras Pande is a UFC author at EssentiallySports who is pursuing his graduation in Journalism and Mass Communication. An ardent follower of the UFC, he has been covering the sport for 2 years now. Before joining the team at EssentiallySports, Paras gained expertise as an MMA writer whilst working with Sportskeeda.

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