Paige VanZant is determined to prove she’s more than a pretty face. And if that means losing her pretty face, so be it.
The wildly popular UFC fighter has announced she’s leaving the Octagon to become a bare-knuckle boxer in a million-dollar move that promises to end in bloody scenes.
The 26-year-old, who has leveraged her fight fame into mainstream stardom through an appearance on America’s Dancing With The Stars, has built a rabid fanbase of more than 3.5 million on social media.
But three defeats in her past four fights wasn’t a great bargaining position when it came to seeking a new contract from UFC president Dana White and so she’s heading elsewhere.
VanZant said her decision to lose the gloves and join the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship was about proving she could care less about her looks.
“I feel like I still have this stigma in MMA that I’m just a pretty face,” she told ESPN. “And what a way to prove to people that’s not the way I see myself at all.
“This is a sport where people probably have the highest rate of getting cut open, and having long term scars is definitely something I’m not even worried about for me.
Paige VanZant has relocated to Florida.Source:Instagram
VanZant’s deal is worth more than $1 million and includes incentives. She described the deal with BKFC as an “amazing contract” but hasn’t ruled out returning to mixed martial arts in the future.
She recently relocated to Florida with her husband and fellow fighter Austin Vanderford.
“I also feel like it’s not a move backwards for me. It’s a lateral move to a new opportunity, a new challenge, a brand new sport. I really have sparked a brand new passion for it and especially for striking in general,” she said.
VanZant leaves the UFC with a 5-4 record.
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