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Paige VanZant: Leaving UFC ‘the best decision I’ve ever made’

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Paige VanZant is celebrating life after UFC.

The former strawweight phenom, who also did work at 125 pounds, left the “powerhouse of combat sports” to sign a lucrative bare-knuckle contract with BKFC. That, combined with her exclusive website, has left “12 Gauge” financially secure for the first time in her career.

“For me, I was a free agent at 26 years old,” VanZant told MMA Fighting. “I was really young. It was nerve-wracking to know you’re leaving the powerhouse of combat sports. But now I know it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Since I’ve left, I’ve seen multiple fighters leave the UFC — and it’s not a diss at the UFC necessarily, but I think it’s more an awakening in fighters knowing there’s money out there and we’re going to be compensated for what we’re doing.”

VanZant dropped her bare-knuckle debut to Britain Hart at “KnuckleMania” last February but is anxious to get back into the ring against fellow UFC export Rachael Ostovich later this summer. Until then, expect to see more of her feminine side online.

“I work hard for my body. I work hard for who I am, and there’s a side of me that’s extremely girly and feminine, and I get to share that on my fan site,” VanZant said. “Now I think it’s becoming a lot more acceptable. Before, the OnlyFans was seen more for just like porn stars. It was a little bit more X-rated, just the view from the public. Not saying that’s actually what people have on there, but I wanted to do it my own way. I wanted to do it professionally and have my own website and that’s what I’ve done.”

See what “12 Gauge” is up to by clicking here.