Paige VanZant is set to officially join the UFC’s new women’s flyweight division when she takes on Jessica Eye at UFC 216 on Oct. 7.
VanZant is one of the most popular UFC fighters and was close to securing a title shot in the strawweight division, but after multiple bad weight cuts and putting her body through hell to make the 115-pound division, she knew it was necessary for her body and long-term health to make the move to 125 pounds when the opportunity arose.
During an appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, VanZant discussed the brutal cut and how her parents witnessed her struggling to make the strawweight limit led to her decision.
“It’s a big cut for me. I’m a lot heavier than people realize,” VanZant said, via MMA Fighting. “I was honestly killing myself for this sport. In my last I want to say two fights or three fights, I’ve passed out in my bathroom. This last one, I passed out and had the doctors almost not cleared me for the fight.
“My parents have never seen me cut weight, but they watched this one and they told me if I ever did that again they were gonna disown me. They thought, I’m killing myself for this and it’s not worth it. It’s not worth hurting myself physically for a sport.”
For VanZant, she believes the ability to cut less weight will allow her to be her best self the next time she enters the Octagon.
“The 125 division is finally getting built, so it just made sense for me to try it out. I’m moving up,” VanZant said. “I’m a big advocate for body positivity and I was putting myself through an eating disorder to make weight. And it became not fun for me anymore. I hate cutting. I hated the process. Obviously, passing out on your bathroom floor is not fun, because you’re dying in a bathtub.”
“I think that the world will see that I’m so much better at 125. I’m gonna be healthier, I’m gonna be stronger, I’m gonna be faster. I can’t wait to show that off.”
The new and improved VanZant will make her flyweight debut on Oct. 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. UFC 216 will be headlined by an interim lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee.