While Paige VanZant’s record hasn’t been as stellar as she would’ve liked so far during her four-year stretch with the promotion, “12 Gauge” is still one of the more popular female fighters on the roster.
That is why she intends to test free agency once she fulfills the final bout on her current contract with UFC.
“I am, yeah,” VanZant said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show (via Bloody Elbow) regarding her plans on testing the market. “You know, it’s more for me, I want to prove my worth. And obviously, with my arm injuries I’ve had three surgeries in a row now,” she added.
“Even though I’m so popular, I guess… I’ve been doing amazing things outside the UFC—Sports Illustrated, Dancing with the Stars, all these amazing things. I want to show, ‘Hey, I’m a huge player in this division. I’m a huge player in the UFC.’ And I think it’s going to take one more fight to do that.”
During her time with UFC, Paige has amassed a 5-3 mark overall, though she has dropped two of her last three fights which may hurt her stock a bit. That said, her appearances on high-profile shows and magazines outside of the Octagon have only elevated her brand.
Furthermore, she was one of the first fighters to land a solo Reebok sponsorship deals back in the day, though she is no longer on the company’s roster of sponsored athletes.
As she mentioned, Paige has been bother by numerous nagging arm injuries, which have forced her to go under the knife numerous times, recently undergoing another surgery to attempt to finally repair the damages.
See the graphic photos here.
Of course, testing free agency doesn’t necessarily mean she will leave for another promotion, but she can leverage other offers from outside promotion to get a bigger deal with UFC. Especially if she can prove victorious in her next fight, which won’t be until later this year.