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Paige VanZant Is Ready For Her Comeback | Inc.

Paige VanZant Is Ready For Her Comeback | Inc.

– I know I’m not done yet,
and I haven’t accomplished nearly what I’m gonna
accomplish in my life. Resurgence, a rising again into life, activity, or prominence. My name is Paige VanZant and I’m a professional
fighter for the UFC. I grew up in a small country town. Dance was definitely my main
passion for a very long time. I did a few like professional
dance shows as a kid. I won a ton of scholarships. Tried out for cheerleading,
I made Varsity as a freshman, which was supposed to be amazing, and supposed to be like a dream come true. It couldn’t have been more awful. People hated me and I
was extremely bullied, and I went day by day being attacked. I just put a book out and it talked about a sexual assault
that I went through. You know, it took me a long time to actually open up about that and even open up to my parents
about what happened to me. You get picked apart and
people don’t believe you, or people wanna make fun of
you for it, or what did you do to ask for something like
that to happen to you. For the longest time I
wanted to just pretend that it didn’t happen, and if
I just didn’t talk about it, then it wouldn’t be true. My dad lost his job, and we
had the opportunity for him to just get another one in the same town, or he asked if we should move. Then I was like we have
to get out of here. He got one in Reno, Nevada,
and that’s when I found MMA. My dad took me to an MMA gym, which he was huge fan of Ken Shamrock, who owned a local gym in Reno, Nevada. And I got to heel hook
and choke my dad out, which was awesome, and
just slowly but surely, the way that the gym made me feel, the way my dad made me feel
by going to these classes, slowly, slowly got my confidence back. Eventually it became just
that repetition of coming into the gym, and they really
made me feel like I was home. I don’t think they even
realized the impact that they had on my life
because of everything that I had went through,
that was the only thing where I actually put myself out there. And I was like all right,
I’m a part of something, I’m a part of this team. Then you realize like wow, I’m
actually really good at this. (rock music) I was gonna fight this girl
named Joanne Calderwood, where she pulled out due to injury, and I ended up fighting Rose Namajunas, and that was my first ever UFC loss. It was a five-round absolute war. She cut me open in the first round. There was blood everywhere. That’s kinda where I made
my name as a fighter. It showed my toughness,
my tenacity, my heart, overcoming every single obstacle that she could throw at me in that fight, and that’s where people were like all right, she’s a fighter. After that I fought Bec
Rawlings, and I finished her with a second round head kick
knockout, which was awesome. And then I lost again. I was on my way to fighting
for a bell at two more fights and I could fight for a
title, two more fights, and I got to fight Rose one more time. And then I break my arm
in the middle of a fight. I was doing well in the fight, I was finally finding my rhythm, I was getting my striking going. And I threw a spinning back fist, and if it would have been
just four inches lower, I would have brutally knocked her out. But she ducked her head and I
hit her right on the forehead, and I heard this loud snap. And at first, with that adrenaline going, I had no idea that the snap was my arm. I did everything I could to try to win the fight, to keep going. It just didn’t matter. They put a plate in and seven screws. I immediately got back into training, I got back to doing
everything that I could right after the surgery
to try to stay on track and get my momentum back to fight again. We get to the six month post-op, and my arm had 0% signs of healing, which meant I had a
broken arm for six months. There was still a total
fracture down the middle of it. So a huge surgery, a huge plate, they took a bone graft
and platelets from my hip, so I had to have a pretty
extreme hip surgery. I haven’t been able to
train for nine months, and that’s, you know that’s nine months where every single girl in
my division is training. Every single girl in my
division is fighting, and winning, and putting
themselves forward, so their careers are all being propelled, where I feel like I’m stuck
in the exact same spot. I know I’m not done yet,
and I haven’t accomplished nearly what I’m gonna
accomplish in my life. I’ve had these two losses
and I’m gonna get them back and I’m gonna win and it’s that one thing that I think professional
athletes have in their mind that they’ll never be good enough, and they’ve never accomplished enough. And there are still goals
that I have for my future that I haven’t reached yet
that I know I’m going to. MMA definitely, it saved my
life, it saved me as a person. I thought the world was
this dark, dark place. And until you go through
something that significant, and then go through these successes, it gave me a sense of purpose,
it gave me a sense of relief. And I really figured out who I am. I’m Paige Vanzant now. I’m a professional fighter for the UFC. And my life matters, and I have a purpose.

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