UFC flyweight Paige VanZant broke her arm in January, but she's already plotting her return to the Octagon.
VanZant suffered a broken arm early in her UFC Fight Night 124 bout with Jessica-Rose Clark on Jan. 14. She finished the fight – her first at 125 pounds – but ended up on the losing end of a unanimous decision.
It was a nasty break to her forearm – VanZant tweeted the x-ray showing the break – that required surgery, which included inserting a plate and screws to hold the bone in place while it heals.
“I have a plate and seven screws in there. It’s still broken. Just waiting for it to heal and I have the plate in there holding it together,” VanZant said in an interview with TMZ Sports on Wednesday.
VanZant has continued training through her recovery, although she is obviously on a limited schedule.
“Three months until I’m back punching with my right hand,” VanZant said, but indicated that the limitation has forced her to focus on her left hand, and that, as an orthodox fighter, has helped her to refine and strengthen her jab.
VanZant is already anxious to get back in the Octagon, but relayed that she has remained in close contact with UFC officials, and gave a guaranteed timeline for her UFC return.
“Six months. I know I’ll have a fight in six months, and that’s guaranteed,” she said. “I’m working with the UFC. I’m keeping myself in amazing shape, so all it is is working on my right (to be ready to fight).
“I’m really excited to get back in there. I’m staying in good shape, and I’m going to be knocking people out now with my titanium arm,” she laughed.
Though she's ranked nowhere near the top of the UFC flyweight division, VanZant doesn't feel like she's far out from a title shot.
Having only a single fight in the division, and that being a loss, typically would be grounds for declaring her claim unfounded, but the division hasn't even gotten off the ground yet.
Nicco Montano became the inaugural UFC women's flyweight champion by winning The Ultimate Fighter Season 26 125-pound tournament, but that was really just opening the door to the weight class' future. There are barely enough women on the roster to fill the UFC's official rankings and VanZant's Octagon experience really don't leave her too far away from title contention.
She'll definitely have to come back and get a couple wins under her belt in the 125-pound division first, but if she does, VanZant could quickly propel herself into title talk.
“I feel like I’m still in that title contention spot in the 125 division. I know everybody calls me out, so we’ll just pick somebody from the list and take ’em out.”