Paige VanZant Isn’t Coming Back to the UFC

By now, the only hype surrounding Paige VanZant has to do with dancing kicks, not round-houses.

This week we were blanketed with the news that Paige landed a lead role in the new Kickboxer Retaliation movie, which better include Jean Claude Van Damme.

To toot my own horn, just a day before this news leaked I said to fellow site author Dave that VanZant was not going to return to the UFC, instead she would be offered movie roles that not only pay more than her fights, but promise significantly less time being choked out.

At this point I have less evidence to back up my claim than the Toronto Blue Jays’ Chris Colabello, but I promise I will cry a lot less than he did whilst writing this post.

VanZant v Namajunas fight video, not hosted on SpinningBackFist.

’12 gauge’ has gained a following through Dancing with the Stars, which (if you didn’t know) does very well in the ratings considering the state of current network television.

Besides movie offers and TV fame is there any more evidence? What about when she resigned with the UFC last year? Well, it was obvious at that point she was on the right path to becoming the UFC’s strawweight version of Ronda Rousey.

Riding high on a four-fight win streak (two subs), it was first reported she would fight Joanne Calderwood. After Calderwood dropped out (now fighting in UFC’s first women’s flyweight bout), Rose Namajunas took the opportunity to step in. This moment was the fork in the road for young Paige.

Photo taken just prior to a gogoplata.

While PVZ showed she has stamina, she was dominated in nearly every aspect en route to a 5th-round loss via rear-naked.

Considering this loss came to a fighter who still has “a fight or two” to go before challenging for the title, in hindsight this could have been a big mistake by the UFC.

In fact, the 22-year-old’s path is not like that of another fighter-turned-actress…none other than Gina Carano.

Consider the following: Seven years ago an attractive, undefeated, rising MMA star in her twenties took the world by storm. Propped up by her bosses/the media as the next big thing. However, all it took was one brutal beating at the hands of Cyborg to convince her that life in the media involved a lot less blood loss.

After that Carano became a regular on a TV series *cough*, lent her voice to video games and acted in big movies (Fast & Furious 6, Deadpool). Hell, she is even in the prequel to the same fucking movie VanZant is set to star in, Kickboxer: Vengeance *Cough, triple cough*.

Paige is 22, on a reality-TV series, acting in Kickboxer and was undefeated in the UFC prior to Namajunas.

After tasting defeat, Carano never came back.

Hate to say it, but perhaps Paige had a euphoric moment while looking into those lights right before tapping to Rose.

What if she does come back, though?

Besides looking awfully stupid, I think Karolina Kowalkiewicz is the fight to book.

From the UFC’s standpoint, this way you have the attractive, ferocious 115 lb star you so clearly desire, win or lose. Unless of course Namajunas decides to stop shaving her head.

With Paige ranked #8 and Karolina #7, this is the only fight I see possible to build her back up. She’s already lost to Rose and Tecia Torres, Letourneau is likely heading up a new division and Jessica Penne is booked (and probably too tough).

The only other question that appears to be unanswered is, why should she come back?

If Paige VanZant never returns to the UFC I wouldn’t blame her.

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Photo credits: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gina_Carano
‘Dancing With The Stars’ 2016 Cast: Meet the Season 22 Contestants
https://www.youtube.com /watch?v=3dynk2viOzI
Feature: http://espn.go.com/extra/mma/photos/gallery/_/id/14339219/image/1/ufc-fight-night-80