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Paige VanZant ‘more than likely going to come back to MMA’

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UFC Fight Night Cejudo v Dillashaw Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Great news for those mixed martial arts (MMA) fans who were disappointed to see Paige VanZant depart Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for a multimillion dollar contract with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC).

You haven’t see the last of “12 Gauge.”

That’s according to husband and Bellator MMA welterweight standout Austin Vanderford, who believes VanZant, still just 26, will have plenty of time to re-enter the world of cage fighting after honing her skills in the bareknuckle arena.

“She felt at this point in her career she needed to make some changes to continue to compete with the top girls,” Vanderford told The Telegraph. “What she’s going to do now will extend the longevity of her career. I know that sounds ironic since she’s going to fight in bare knuckle. But she’s only 26 and this gives her the opportunity to work on some things. Really work on her striking.”

The pay-deprived “12 Gauge” finished up her contract with UFC last July on “Fight Island,” falling to Amanda Ribas by way of first-round armbar. There was a contract on the table from Bellator MMA but much to the chagrin of Vanderford, that offer was declined.

For now.

“She’s more than likely going to come back to MMA,” Vanderford continued. “She wants to try and work on becoming a more well-rounded fighter. “I’m biased, but in my opinion she will be one of the best in the world.”

VanZant is set to make her bareknuckle debut during Super Bowl weekend.