Paige VanZant does not see herself facing UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko anytime soon.
Shevchenko continued to showcase her dominance at 125 pounds when she brutally knocked out Jessica Eye with a head kick at UFC 238 earlier this month. It was her first title defense and also put her at 3-0 since making the move down to flyweight.
There doesn’t seem to be any real next contender for “The Bullet” either, and nobody can blame them. And VanZant, who is 1-1 since moving up to flyweight, believes the champion is on a completely different level than the rest of the pack.
“I am going to be real honest — she is terrifying,” VanZant said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. “I plan on being in the UFC, training and fighting forever. She will probably retire before I fight for the title, to be totally honest.
“You know, I am only 25 so I want to work my way up. As far as anyone I see right now to dethrone her, no, there is nobody, she’s amazing. I know she has said bad things about me in the past, but I don’t care. Her striking is absolutely next level. She is so, gosh, methodical in her striking and technical. It’s like nothing I have ever seen before. So I am working on being like her. I want striking like hers. So, congrats to the champ, that was just an awesome performance.”
VanZant Provides Comeback Timeline
First, VanZant will need to return to the Octagon and remain active. The 25-year-old was sidelined once again as she had to undergo surgery last week after fracturing her right arm earlier this year.
The surgery fortunately went well as “12 Gauge” now expects to be back in training in 12 weeks. Her ideal return date is the UFC’s end-of-year card in December:
“12-week recovery process,” VanZant added. “It was 12 weeks from last Thursday so we’re one week into it so far. There’s always a really big card at the end of the year for the UFC so I’m hoping for that end of the year card.”
If that is the case, it would be just her fourth fight since December 2016. It is also notably the last fight on her UFC deal.