Another promising mixed martial arts fighter is getting on the fast-track of her career.
Paige VanZant, a UFC strawweight fighter, is getting a lot of opportunities where she can showcase her talent in the industry. Even though VanZant is relatively new in fighting inside the octagon, she has been given a couple of fights that can earn her a title.
“She’s ranked No. 7 and she’s dominating. It’s hard to hold somebody back like that. When she fights, you see that she’s definitely green and she’s young, but she’s relentless and she’s scrappy and she wins, man,” UFC President Dana White said after VanZant’s recent promising fight against Alex Chambers. VanZant won over Chambers via submission in the recent UFC 191 main card event.
VanZant, who has a record of 6-1 MMA and 3-0 UFC, had her three-fight winning streak in the UFC when she beat Chambers. Alex Chambers, who has a record of 5-3 MMA and 1-2 UFC, got beat up inside the octagon before VanZant did an armbar in the third round; this move secured VanZant’s win. Fans and sports analysts concluded as early as the second round that Chambers’ abilities were nowhere near VanZant’s previous competitor, Felice Herrig.
“I don’t think a lot of girls in my division are used to having the pace pushed that way, and that’s definitely something I get from my teammates; they always push me every second. So that’s kind of the way I fight,” VanZant said about her performance.
VanZant had the impression of being a star in the making , even before she went inside the octagon to fight, and winning again last Saturday backed this impression up. Even though VanZant has only managed to get into seven professional bouts, a lot of people are already comparing her to UFC women’s bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey. Rousey is undeniably one of the UFC’s most bankable athlete as of today.
Just recently, VanZant had the chance to meet the women’s MMA bantamweight champion when they were both in the Reebok photo shoot. She admitted that she gushed over meeting Rousey and she even managed to praise Rousey for her contributions to the mma industry. She was quick to sidestep when she was compared herself to Rousey and brushed off any pressure from other fighters who are doing the same.
“It’s as much a compliment for people to even say that. But those are definitely huge shoes to fill and I have a long way before I can make that comparison. But I’m thankful that people see that, and I definitely want to follow in her footsteps. She’s opened some great doors for women in all athletics and especially the UFC. So I just think of it as a compliment. It’s not pressure added,” VanZant said.
For White, however, he thinks that VanZant is someone who is on the brink of being a big star as long as she can keep herself to the ground.
“She has all the attributes of a little rock star. She’s got a great personality, she’s absolutely relentless when she fights; she puts (Demetrious) ‘Mighty Mouse’ (Johnson) type pressure on fighters, and yesterday, she was the most searched fighter on UFC.com. People love her. All of her sponsors were all sitting cageside with their phones out filming her when she walked out. She’s got it. She’s got to put in the hard work and keep her head together,” White said.