Paige VanZant fires back at critics questioning why she still fights: ‘I do whatever the f*ck I want’ (2024)

A few years ago, Paige VanZant spoke openly about the financial struggles she faced during her final UFC fights after suffering a broken arm that kept her out of action for an extended period of time.

Then, as a free agent, VanZant inked a lucrative contract with BKFC, where she competed in a pair of bare-knuckle boxing fights. That, along with launching a fan site, helped her finally find financial stability in her career. Lately, VanZant has spent time expanding her empire after launching a new podcast alongside husband and fellow fighter Austin Vanderford, and crossing over into acting with a role in the upcoming horror film Skill House from writer and director Josh Stolberg, who previously worked on the popular Saw franchise.

But VanZant always planned to fight again. She returns to action Saturday in a boxing match against social influencer and adult star Elle Brooke at a Misfits card in Houston. Because she hasn’t competed in nearly three years and doesn’t necessarily need the money any longer, VanZant rarely escapes questions about why she still bothers fighting at all.

“I’ll tell you this, I have a lot of other opportunities on the table,” VanZant told MMA Fighting. “I signed a movie contract that we’re pushing back so I can have this fight. There’s a lot of other things I could be doing, but I choose to fight because I love it. I have multiple other opportunities reaching out to me that are bigger, I guess in the realm of popularity you could say, but I wanted to do this boxing match. I want to show how hard I’ve been working in the gym, how hard I’ve been training.

“My entire career, people have been asking me why I’m doing it, and it’s because I want to. I do whatever the f*ck I want to do, and I do it because I’m good at it. I do it because this is where I’m going to feel the most success at the end of the day. I like taking risks, I like having fun, and I like to fight.”

As much as VanZant appreciates that she no longer has to scrape and claw by when it comes to her finances, that hasn’t changed her desire to continue fighting.

It’s no different than successful boxers like Canelo Alvarez or Floyd Mayweather sitting at home with hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank, yet both continue to fight well beyond a time when they could have retired comfortably and never throw another punch.

“It’s just an interesting concept that people assume because you make a ton of money that you change as a person,” VanZant said. “Money doesn’t change you — hopefully. You just be smart, and my parents raised me extremely well. I went to college when I was 16. I pretty much could do anything that I wanted to do. I knew whatever I chose, I was going to be successful at, and now all of a sudden it has taken off. My career’s taken off. My finances are proving that, which is awesome, but I think the media likes to make a bigger deal about how much money I make more than I do.

“Everybody wants to talk about how much money I make, and yeah, that is awesome because if you’re going to do a job, you should be paid to do it. Otherwise, it’s just a hobby. The money hasn’t changed me. I’m still the same person. I still have the same love and desire and drive for fighting. It’s just one element that I still stress about that is I guess less stressful than the other person.”

For Saturday’s fight, VanZant isn’t facing another veteran from UFC or BKFC.

Instead, she faces a relative novice in combat sports, with Brooke essentially falling in love with boxing after she already found fame as an influencer. She’s 3-1 in exhibition bouts, and even scored a knockout in her most recent outing to claim a Misfits boxing title.

But that résumé doesn’t come close to the caliber of opponents VanZant faced during her professional fighting career.

So that begs the question — does VanZant actually view Brooke as a legitimate threat?

“I mean, everybody is [a threat],” VanZant said. “I’d have to go back and check what her last fight date was, but I know she’s been preparing extremely hard to fight me. I know they have known they were trying to get me on the fight card before I even knew, so I’m sure she’s been working really hard.

“I hope she is, because I do want to go out there and I want to have a tough fight and I want to really show how hard I’ve worked. That will only come from fighting a skilled opponent.”

Paige VanZant fires back at critics questioning why she still fights: ‘I do whatever the f*ck I want’ (2024)


Paige VanZant fires back at critics questioning why she still fights: ‘I do whatever the f*ck I want’? ›

I'm still the same person. I still have the same love and desire and drive for fighting. It's just one element that I still stress about that is I guess less stressful than the other person.”

Has Paige VanZant ever won a fight? ›

Meanwhile, VanZant is abundantly more experienced in combat sports. While she lacks an extensive boxing resume, the ex-UFC standout boasts an MMA record of 8-5 with wins against the likes of Felice Herrig and Rachael Ostovich, among others.

Who won, Elle Brooke or Paige VanZant? ›

Misfits Boxing women's middleweight champion Elle Brooke retained her title following an entertaining clash with former UFC star Paige VanZant. VanZant was making her Misfits debut and she was immediately on the back foot after being knocked down by Brooke in the first round.

Why was Paige VanZant fight canceled? ›

According to VanZant, she was told “logistical issues” led to her fight being pulled from the event. BKFC president Dave Feldman confirmed it was the promotion's decision to pull the VanZant vs. Sigala fight from the card and added it had nothing to do with either fighter involved.

How much did Paige VanZant make? ›

VanZant received an average of $100,000 from the UFC for each fight, including sponsorships and win bonuses. Her total earnings from her UFC career to date are reportedly $564,000. Her career-disclosed earnings, according to Tapology, are $207,000.

Why is Paige VanZant famous? ›

At the age of 20, VanZant made her UFC Strawweight debut on November 22, 2014 where she defeated Kailin Curran in stunning fashion by TKO in the third round. She is one of the youngest fighters to receive the Fight of the Night award.

Is Paige VanZant back in UFC? ›

VanZant's return will not be in mixed martial arts or bare-knuckle boxing as previously anticipated. Instead, she is set to make her professional boxing debut, a significant shift from her previous combat sports endeavors.

Who won Elle or Faith? ›

OnlyFans star Elle Brooke scores stunning knockout over TikToker Faith Ordway on KSI undercard and kisses Ebanie Bridges in celebration. Elle Brooke wasted no time knocking out Faith Ordway in the first round of their fight on the undercard of KSI vs Faze Temperrr on Saturday night.

Who won the Paige VanZant fight last night? ›

MF & DAZN: X Series 15 results: Paige VanZant knocked down early by Elle Brooke, rallies for split draw.

Did Elle Brooke win her match? ›

The match between Paige VanZant and Elle Brooke on Saturday for the Misfits Boxing women's middleweight championship at MF & DAZN: X Series 15 in Houston's NRG Arena was ruled a draw (48-46, 46-48, 47-47).

How many fights has Paige VanZant lost? ›

Paige VanZant Record: 8-5-0
lossPaige VanZant Jessica-Rose ClarkU-DEC
lossPaige VanZant Michelle Waterson-GomezSUB Rear Naked Choke
winPaige VanZant Bec RawlingsKO/TKO Kick
lossPaige VanZant Rose NamajunasSUB Rear Naked Choke
6 more rows

Did Paige VanZant win Dancing with the Stars? ›

While vying for the mirrorball trophy, VanZant and her professional partner Mark Ballas impressed the judges, even earning a perfect score for a salsa-jiva fusion. However, they ultimately placed second to model Nyle DiMarco and his partner Peta Murgatroyd.

Who is the richest female MMA fighter? ›

Her net worth is estimated to be around $4 million. What is this? Ronda Rousey's dominance in the octagon and her ability to transcend the sport have made her the richest female MMA fighter.

Why did Paige VanZant change her last name? ›

The bullying included mocking her surname Sletten, which students changed to "slu*tton". She eventually changed her surname legally to VanZant because of the persistent bullying. She chose "VanZant" because it was one of her mother's students' last names and she liked the way it sounded.

Who is Paige VanZant partner? ›

Did Paige VanZant win chopped? ›

VanZant made it through the appetizer, and entree rounds to compete in the dessert round against Hamill. She then edged out Hamill in the dessert round to become the Chopped winner.

Who is the UFC fighter on ridiculousness? ›

Brendan Peter Schaub (born March 18, 1983) is an American podcast host, former professional mixed martial artist, and stand-up comedian.

Who is the MMA fighter on Dancing with the Stars? ›

Following in the footsteps of UFC Hall of Famers Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture, strawweight contender Paige VanZant will be the third UFC fighter to grace the dance floor when she competes on season 22 of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," which premieres on March 21.

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