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Paige VanZant: I had to ‘prove to myself that I belonged’ after ‘Dancing With The Stars’ stint

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Paige VanZant lost in dominant fashion last December to Rose Namajunas. Then, she stepped away from the Octagon to compete on “Dancing With The Stars.”

Over the last few months, many people were questioning VanZant’s future in MMA. Would she leave for Hollywood? Is she really good enough to make it in the UFC?

VanZant told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that she heard all those questions and criticisms. But the true struggle heading into her bout last weekend with Bec Rawlings at UFC on FOX 21 in Vancouver was internal.

“For me, I feel like every fight it’s not that I have to prove anybody wrong, it’s just that I have to prove myself right,” VanZant said. “I had to go in there and prove to myself that I belonged in there and that I’m so much more than just coming off ‘Dancing With The Stars.’ It was definitely just pressure I put on myself, especially knowing I was gonna have a lot of people watching coming from ‘Dancing With The Stars.'”

It could not have ended up better for VanZant. She came away with a stylish, made-for-television finish — a jumping switch kick knockout of Rawlings. It’s a highlight that will be played over and over, one of the top KOs of 2016 by any fighter, male or female.

“For me, I’m a fighter first,” VanZant said. “I just happened to stay on ‘Dancing With The Stars’ until the finale. So it pushed back my next fight. But it all worked out.”

After the bout, VanZant said she wanted to fight in Sacramento in December. That’s still up in the air, though. VanZant said she still has some big projects pending right now outside the Octagon.

“I was really excited after the fight, obviously,” she said. ….View full article

Source:: mma fighting