Paige VanZant makes her highly anticipated return to the cage at this Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 124 event when she battles Australia’s Jessica-Rose Clark.
VanZant (7-3-0) will be making her flyweight debut, following a very dangerous weight-cut the last time she attempted to make 115-pounds. She is 4-2 with the UFC, having earned victories over Felice Herrig, Kailin Curran and Alex Chambers, as well as a stunning 2016 knockout of Bec Rawlings.
The 23-year-old believes she has what it takes to be a world champion at 125-pounds and says she can show off more of her athletic ability with less of a weight cut.
“I feel like this the best I’ve ever felt going into a fight,” VanZant told MMAjunkie. “The weight cut is what’s making all the difference. I feel amazing right now where I can actually go out there and have fun and show off some of the stuff I can do.
“The biggest difference is I’m going to go in there and feel good, honestly. I think I get to show off my skills. I’ve always been very athletic, and I’m going to show off my athletic capability a lot more now that I actually feel good going into the fight.”
“12 Gauge” says the pressure is on but she hopes to display the best version of herself and avoid any embarrassing situations.
“I’ve kind of put that pressure on myself in every single fight,” VanZant said. “I feel like every fight I have, there’s a different element of pressure going into it. Like, ‘I better win this fight because of my opponent.’ Or, ‘I better win this fight because I’m the main event.’ There’s always a lot of outside factors, but I think the biggest thing is I like to win and I want to go out there and put my best self forward and not have anymore embarrassments in fights.”
UFC Fight Night 124 takes place this Sunday January 14 from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. The main card featuring VanZant vs. Clark will be aired live on Fox Sports 1 from 10pm ET.