Paige VanZant injured again, Octagon return pushed back

Paige VanZant
Image: @paigevanzant on Instagram

UFC flyweight Paige VanZant will have to delay returning to the Octagon as she is scheduled for another operation to her right arm next Thursday. This will be her third time undergoing surgery as a result of re-injuring it this year.

According to a report from ESPN, Paige VanZant (8-4) fractured her arm in January during a sparring session. Initially, she was informed she would not need surgery, but upon further investigation, she will have to go under the knife and take three months out of the sport. As a result, she will not be able to fight in July as anticipated, despite training as recent as last month.

“I actually sparred last month and was doing strength and conditioning,” VanZant said. “I wanted to be on the UFC card on July 20 in Texas, but my chiropractor wanted me to get my arm checked out again before accepting a fight. I saw a surgeon who works with the Portland Trailblazers and he told me, ‘Yes, you 100 percent need surgery.'”

VanZant first broke her arm in Jan. 2018, when she lost to Jessica-Rose Clark at UFC 124. She was forced to undergo two surgeries to repair the injury. Her broken arm did heal, but she had to have a metal rod and moving bone inserted from her hip to arm area. Her most recent injury occurred in the same bone next to the rod. The frustrations of surgery even made her consider possible retirement.

“After the second surgery, I said, ‘If I break my arm again, I’m quitting. I’m just not meant to fight…But now that I’ve done it again, I’m at a point where it’s like, ‘No. I just don’t give a s— anymore. My stupid arm is not going to stop me.’ I need one more surgery, and I’m going to be fine,” VanZant said.

Despite the trials and tribulations of repeated arm surgery, VanZant intends on returning by the end of the year, as she wants to perform on behalf of her great team.

“I think the most frustrating part is I feel so blessed to have the team around me. I know how much my coach, Fabiano Scherner, cares about me and I want to perform for him. It’s hard not to be jealous of everyone fighting because ultimately, this is still what I want to do right now.”

Paige VanZant only has one fight left in her UFC contract which she intends on seeing through. The injury has affected her own esteem in regards to her UFC career.

“For me, I want to know I’m valued,” VanZant said. “It’s not that I think the UFC doesn’t value me now, but I want to continue to show them how much I’m worth and I think I need this last fight on my contract to show that.”

Her injuries have limited her amount of appearances in the UFC. VanZant has only fought twice in the last two years. As she looks to her future, she wants to solidify her position as a reputable contender in the flyweight division and not get left behind.

“I want to be moving forward off two wins and be able to say, ‘This is how good I am.’ I want them to see that. Not just fans, even the UFC, they can move on quickly to the next star. I want to remind them I’m a star. I have one fight left. I’m going to have this surgery and get that fight over with.”

Here’s hoping Paige VanZant has a speedy recovery.

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 6/3/2019.