Paige VanZant Cleared To Return For UFC's ESPN Debut

Paige VanZant has been cleared to fight. The UFC women’s flyweight standout has been out of action since suffering a broken arm in a January 2018 loss to Jessica-Rose Clark. “12 Gauge” underwent multiple surgeries to repair her fractured arm, but the 24-year-old has since been cleared to return after her most recent visit to the doctors.
VanZant announced the news on her new YouTube page.
“The verdict is I can go for it,” VanZant said in a video blog. “I can punch people again – well I’m not able to punch people yet – but in like six weeks I can punch people. But I can start training and working out again and I’m going to be fighting in January.”
The timetable for VanZant’s return works out perfectly, especially with recent rumors suggesting she could be returning at a yet-to-be-announced UFC event on Jan. 18, 2019. That event will mark the UFC’s debut event on ESPN after the two companies agreed to a broadcasting deal earlier this year.
VanZant’s rumored opponent for the ESPN debut is fellow flyweight Rachel Ostovich.
With two marketable fighters like VanZant and Ostovich fighting on ESPN, there would be maximum exposure as the UFC looks to continue building its women’s flyweight division and shaping its next wave of superstars.
After bursting onto the scene in November 2014, winning four straight under the UFC banner including three finishes, VanZant has hit a few stumbling blocks. She has lost three of her last four — including two submission losses to current women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas and Michelle Waterson — with her lone win being over Bec Rawlings. Despite her struggles in the cage, VanZant remains one of the top stars in the UFC’s women’s divisions thanks to a run to the finals on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars and a win on Food Network’s Chopped. Her crossover appeal is huge, and at 24-years-old she is still just getting started.

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