The UFC has offered flyweight star Paige VanZant a matchup against up-and-comer Maycee Barber, but according to a new report from ESPN, VanZant has declined the offer.
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto says the UFC offered VanZant the fight with Barber, but she turned it down.
I’m also told UFC did formally offer VanZant the Barber fight and as of right now, she’s choosing to decline.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) October 23, 2019
“I’m also told UFC did formally offer VanZant the Barber fight and as of right now, she’s choosing to decline.”
Okamoto also cited a recent Instagram post from Paige VanZant, where she called out nearly every other women’s strawweight and women’s flyweight — except Barber. Okamoto says that Paige VanZant does not want to reward Barber for calling her out after her recent knockout win over Gillian Robertson at UFC Boston.
“Lesson of the day: RESPECT One of the first lessons we learn in martial arts is respect.
I respect those who have dedicated themselves to this profession and given it their everything to achieve greatness through showcasing their skill.
I respect every female fighter tagged in this post. With that said, it would be an honor to share the cage with any of you ladies at 115 or 125.
If any of you are interested, let @UFC & @mickmaynard2 know because I’m healthy and ready to get back in there.”
Regardless of what VanZant thinks of Barber, it’s a bit surprising to see Paige VanZant turn down this fight. For one, it’s an exciting matchup that fans seem to be interested in. When Barber called VanZant out, fans immediately became excited about the prospect of a potential fight between the two. And two, VanZant has complained lately that the UFC hasn’t been offering her a matchup despite being healthy. She’s now been offered a fight and apparently doesn’t want it.
If the UFC truly wants this matchup booked, expect the matchmakers to do everything in their power to get the matchup finalized. However, with just one fight left on her UFC contract, VanZant may look at Barber as a risky fight given how dangerous she is and how VanZant may want to exit the UFC for free agency on a win. At the same time, though, a win over Barber would surely up VanZant’s free-agent value.
Who should Paige VanZant fight next if she doesn’t fight Maycee Barber?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/23/2019.