Paige VanZant explains why UFC Brooklyn bout is ‘more important than any fight’

Paige VanZant
Image: Paige VanZant on Instagram

This Saturday, when the UFC makes its debut on ESPN with the stacked UFC Brooklyn card, fan favorite flyweight contender Paige VanZant will make her long-awaited return to the Octagon opposite Rachael Ostovich.

Paige VanZant believes this fight is one of the most important of her whole career — more important, even, than her UFC debut. She feels this is her opportunity to reintroduce herself to UFC fans using the massive ESPN platform and prove she belongs amongst the flyweight division’s best fighters.

“This one is more important, I feel, than any fight,” VanZant told MMA Fighting. “This one is as just as important as my very first fight in the UFC ever. I need to show everybody who I am and why I belong in the UFC. I feel like fighting is a career where athletes are easily forgotten. If you’re not in front of the crowds, then people don’t remember your name. I’ve been out for a year and I still have those fans who have stuck by me. But I need to show everybody and the new fans of the UFC why I belong there. I feel like this is the fight I have to prove myself with. And of course it couldn’t be at a more exciting time, being the first ESPN card, being able to fight in New York.”

Paige VanZant added that this was a card she’d been eyeing for some time.

“I knew this was my card — I was meant to fight on the first ESPN card,” she said. “It’s monumental. It’s huge. ESPN is the biggest sports network in the world. When you think of sports, you think of ESPN. I want to be the face of ESPN and I hope that me fighting on this card will help solidify and help prove that I belong on this network. It’s huge. And on top of that, fighting in New York is a dream of mine.

VanZant is also excited about the matchup with Rachael Ostovich itself.

“It’s an exciting fight for me,” she said. “She has such a big name within the UFC. I think that obviously this is a fight a lot of male fans really like. I’m excited that me and her can go out there and put on a show. I have met her in person and she’s a super, super nice person. So I’m excited we get to share an Octagon together and try to rip each other’s heads off.”

Paige VanZant is currently on a two-fight skid, having recently come up short to Michelle Waterson and Jessica-Rose Clark. Do you think she’ll return to winning ways in Brooklyn this Saturday?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 1/16/2019.