Last weekend, the UFC touched down in Sacramento, California with UFC on Fox 22. In the card’s main event, 22-year-old strawweight prospect Paige VanZant had the opportunity to score a huge win in front of her adopted hometown as she took on former Invicta atomweight champion Michelle Waterson.
Regrettably for VanZant and her fans in attendance, she was quickly put to sleep by a Waterson rear-naked choke, coming up short for the third time in three fights.
In the wake of this win, VanZant’s long-time training partner and ex-boyfriend Cody Garbrandt weighed in on the state of her career. He did so during a media luncheon in the buildup to his UFC 207 title fight with bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.
“She’s young,” Garbrandt said of VanZant. “She’s very skilled, very athletic. We have a great team and great coaches. She’ll find her groove again. She’ll find her groove.”
Garbrandt went on to remind how VanZant rebounded from her second most recent loss, which was dealt by Rose Namajunas last December.
“It’s a crazy sport,” he said. “You win some, you lose some, but it’s how you bounce back. Look how she bounced back from the Rose loss. Coming off of ‘Dancing With The Stars’ with all that pressure and she only had six weeks to get ready — has an amazing, highlight-reel knockout [over Bec Rawlings]”
Finally, Garbrandt weighed in on VanZant’s many options outside fighting – such as her recent run on Dancing with the Stars – and gave his take on whether or not these things would hurt her fighting career or not.
“That’s something that she’s gonna have to decide — if she’s gonna be a fighter or an entertainer,” Garbrandt said. “It’s not a bad position that she’s in, to be able to dabble in both. I tell you, if I could dance like that, I wouldn’t be fighting. I’ll be dancing. I love fighting. It’s something i want to do. If something were to arise out of this, I’ll take it. But I’m focused on fighting and she should be, too. She’s young and she has so many years of getting better. It’s about her, what she wants to do, at the end of the day.”
How do you think Paige VanZant will bounce back from her recent loss to Michelle Waterson? Sound off, PENN Nation!