Former UFC star Paige VanZant is set to make a much-hyped move to the world of bare knuckle boxing on Friday, Feb. 5, when she debuts for Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) at their KnuckleMania event from Florida.
The move for the 26-year-old VanZant has been questioned ever since she signed with the company last year. When her UFC deal expired, most expected her to stay in mixed martial arts and move to Bellator, but she threw a pretty big curveball by going to bare knuckle, which doesn’t on paper really play to her proven strengths as a fighter.
VanZant, who will face Britain Hart in Friday’s main event, spoke with MMA Fighting about the fight, and here are some highlight quotes, with the full interview available in the video up top.
On having no concerns about getting bad cuts
“I think the hard thing is the regular fan, not necessarily educated in martial arts or educated in the medical field. They see blood and immediately see it as a terrible injury. Whereas for me, I would much rather be cut open than break my arm or break my knuckle or tear my shoulder or tear my knee.
“Those are all things that take a very long time to heal, whereas a laceration — I got cut in my face in one fight. One, you can barely tell, and two, I heard statistically that scars make you more attractive. It’s not a big deal. Those heal and you just continue on. Faces heal really well, your body heals itself really well.”
How to Watch BKFC KnuckleMania
On the surprise move to BKFC
“I feel like for me, this wasn’t about proving anything. This is truly just about going out there and having fun. That’s what it was at the beginning of my MMA, beginning of my UFC career. There wasn’t anybody I had to prove wrong. I was just going out there to try this because I didn’t know how long fighting was going to last for me. I was so young and so new to this sport.
“So here, it’s kind of the same thing. I’m just going to go out there and have fun and I’m doing something that I’m passionate about. I’m doing it because I love it and nothing else matters.”
On the choice of Britain Hart as opponent
“Honestly, I’m really excited about this matchup. It was going back and forth between who my opponent was going to be. BKFC wasn’t really sure, there was a lot of talk about who it would be. I’m really excited with the person they settled with, especially for the debut. I’m going into her world, something she’s already competed at. She’s fought for the title. She fought a split decision with Bec Rawlings, who we all know is extremely talented. People should know this Britain chick, she’s no joke absolutely.
“I think that’s what makes me rise to the occasion more. I know I have to take this so seriously because I know how tough she is. That’s the thing, I’m coming to fight the best of the best and I’m super excited that I get to go into her world and take over. I think it’s going to be the perfect debut for me.”