Paige VanZant’s UFC Flyweight Debut Is Official

Kyle Terada for USA TODAY Sports
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Paige VanZant’s UFC flyweight debut is official.

After a report surfaced earlier this month that the popular women’s strawweight contender would take on former bantamweight Jessica Eye at October 7’s UFC 216 pay-per-view (PPV) card, the bout has been made official by the promotion according to Adam Hill of The Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The UFC will implement a women’s 125-pound division during the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) featuring coaches Justin Gaethje and Eddie Alvarez after many female strawweights called for a division where they could cut less weight, while some female bantamweights are willing to cut to 125 pounds to not have to deal with as much of a size discrepancy against larger 135-pound competitors. TUF 26 will crown the first-ever UFC women’s flyweight champion at its finale in December.

VanZant has been out of action since last December when she was submitted by Michelle Waterson in the main event of UFC on FOX 21. She’s accepted as one of the most popular faces on the UFC roster, but in reality, she’s only won a single fight over unranked fighter Bec Rawlings since September 2015, losing two of her last three fights (albeit to top contenders) by submission.

She’ll face off with a contender who’s in even more need of a win, as Eye has dropped her last four bouts in the bantamweight division, losing each by decision. She was set to fight Aspen Ladd at July 7’s TUF 25 Finale but Ladd was forced out the week of the bout.

UFC 216 is set to feature an interim lightweight title bout between Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.