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Win or lose at UFC 251, Paige VanZant is set on testing free agency following her July 11 bout against Amanda Ribas on “Fight Island.”
VanZant is on the last fight of her current contract, and she hopes to secure a more lucrative deal no matter where she might land.
“I have my heart set and nobody is going to change my mind that I’m fighting my contract out,” VanZant told ESPN. “I don’t know where my future lies – I truly don’t. I think that’s kind of an exciting thing in my life. I’ve been with the UFC for six years now, and through this time I’m still – which is crazy – on the same contract before I fought Rose [Namajunas] at 22 years old, and I’m 26 now.
“…I just feel like a regular extension isn’t what I want. I want to prove my worth and my value and I want a brand new contract. I’m really excited to get the opportunity and really test the free agency because how do you know what your value is unless you can go test it among the other sharks?”
While VanZant has enjoyed mixed results in UFC competition — she is 5-3 in eight appearances — she has proven to be a crossover star, as evidenced by her success on “Dancing with the Stars.” VanZant revealed that endeavor alone was more lucrative than fighting for the world’s largest mixed martial arts promotion, as is her ability to use her massive social media following.
Though VanZant isn’t happy with her current contract situation, she is focused on defeating Ribas at UFC 251 and entering free agency on a two-fight winning streak. She hasn’t ruled out re-signing with the UFC, either.
“So I make $46,000 [to show] and (another) $46,000 [to win],” VanZant said. “I’m not going to hide that because everyone knows. I can make way more money than that just promoting brands on Instagram, and that should say something.
“Why would I step away from all the amazing success that I have? I made more money on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ than I have in my entire UFC career combined – every fight, every win, every bonus. I love fighting. It’s what I love to do, and for this fight I dropped every single sponsor. I haven’t posted anything on Instagram. Nothing matters to me except this fight and it’s a clean slate for me. I'm just excited to go out there and prove my value to absolutely everybody. And I think that fighting is how I do that.”