Paige VanZant reflects on ‘big learning process’ from BKFC debut, looks forward to rebounding

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Paige VanZant is fired up and looking to get back in the ring.

The former UFC fighter and now Bare Knuckle FC competitor wants to return this spring to bounce back from her unsuccessful debut last week. VanZant lost to Britain Hart by unanimous decision in a 125-pound contest in the main event of “BKFC: KnuckleMania.”

VanZant, who left the UFC as a free agent in 2020, has no opponent in mind for her second BKFC bout, but she hopes to get booked quickly so she can put her loss behind her.

“I would like to fight in April. I really want to capitalize on my momentum from that fifth round,” VanZant told SiriusXM’s Knuckle Up Radio. “Im ready to rock. I need to get back in there again. I will say, overall experience, it will be one to remember. I did enjoy the moment, (but) I didn’t enjoy the outcome. I enjoyed the moment with Britain in that fight. It was awesome.”

Although VanZant came up short, she did find some success in the fight. The former “Dancing with the Stars” competitor lost the majority of the bout but managed to turn up late and take a round on all three judges’ scorecards.

VanZant would love to get a rematch with Hart, but just not yet.

“She (Hart) did amazing,” VanZant said. “She was able to frustrate me during the fight, and I think that’s the biggest compliment I can give her.

“Her composure was amazing with every round. She’s got a dog in her, and it took me to get to the fifth round to find mine. I do think we’ll cross paths again. I don’t think I deserve to fight her in an immediate rematch. Yes, we had a close fight, but I don’t see it as close as a lot of the world sees it.

“I think I won the fifth round, but I wasn’t happy with my performance Rounds 1 through 4. It took that fifth round to get that rhythm. I think me and her will cross paths again, and I want that to hopefully be for the title. I think that fight should happen later in my career, and I think I need to get more wins and earn my shot against her.”

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Even though the defeat stung, VanZant won’t dwell on it. She knows what adjustments need to be made moving forward and plans on addressing them.

“There’s a few things that I’m going to take away from it and go to the gym and adjust and learn,” VanZant said. “It was a really big learning process throughout the fight.

“As the rounds went, I felt like I was adjusting and kind of finding my rhythm and finding what was working what wasn’t. I stepped into an entirely different sport really and not being able to fully train this sport unless you fight. You can’t really box bare-knuckle in the gym, so it was an adjustment period. It sucks, it’s unfortunate, I’m not happy. I’m never happy with a loss, ever. It’s the biggest letdown in the world, but I know it’s not going to shape me or define me. I know I can go back and learn and get better.”