Though she won’t flat out say she’s retired from mixed martial arts (MMA), Ronda Rousey’s full time deal with WWE has pretty much signaled the end for “Rowdy’s” Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) career.
Expected to make her pro wrestling debut at Wrestlemania 34 on Sunday, April 8, 2018 in New Orleans, Rousey is the latest MMA fighter-turned-pro wrestler, but she likely won’t be the last.
One fellow female face puncher who fully supports Ronda’s move and isn’t opposed to joining her sometime down the road is current UFC flyweight contender Paige VanZant, who recently told MMA Junkie she would definitely open the door if the McMahon family came knocking.
“It’s just another platform for us UFC fighters to make a name for ourselves,” VanZant said this past weekend in London, England, while attending UFC Fight Night 127. “I know Ronda is going to be awesome at it, and she’s going to make a name for herself in the WWE.”
With a record of 4-3 so far inside the eight-sided cage, “12 Gauge” hasn’t accumulated the wins she had hoped for after getting plenty of push from the promotion. Still, she isn’t ready to trade in her fighting gloves for some wrestling boots anytime soon, but would entertain the idea down the road.
“I’m a fighter first and foremost, but if the opportunity ever came knocking, I’m not one to turn opportunities down. I think it’s an amazing organization, and I’d definitely love to work with them,” she added.
As far as her fighting career, VanZant recently dropped back-to-back fights, coming up short in her first-ever fight at 125 pounds against Jessica Rose-Clark this past January. That said, Paige notes that if she can rack up a few impressive wins, she could be staring down the barrel of a championship bout sooner, rather than later.
“I still definitely think that within the 125-pound division, I’m still eligible for that title shot relatively soon,” VanZant said. “I know I need to earn it and fight one or two more times, improve myself, but that’s ultimately the goal.”
Convincing current 125-pound champion Nicco Montano that “12 Gauge” is deserving, though, is an entirely different story.