Paige VanZant has found a new home to continue her fighting career.
The former UFC fighter says she has signed a new four-fight, exclusive contract with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, according to ESPN.
“It was an amazing contract, an amazing opportunity,” VanZant told ESPN. “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.
“And, on top of that, I feel like I still have this stigma in MMA that I’m just a pretty face, 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 that I’m not even worried about for me. It’s just the love of competition and I’m really excited to go out there and show off in such an amazing sport.”
ESPN reported that the totality of the deal is worth over $1 million, with incentives attached. It represents a significant raise from what she was making in the UFC.
The 26-year-old hasn’t ruled out a return to MMA.
“I don’t know that I am done with MMA,” VanZant said. “I know momentarily I am. I still have a huge passion for MMA, and I just recently relocated to Florida to train with American Top Team. Obviously they are one of the best MMA gyms in the world. Right now, my sole focus is boxing, but in a few years I could go back to MMA or I could just be making so much doing this bare knuckle boxing that I don’t do anything else.”