PVZ already has something planned after UFC 251, win or lose, which is to get one more surgery done on her often injured arm.
“I think that’s the biggest reason I want to go in and have another surgery to get my plate taken out — every punch I throw hurts,” VanZant told MMA Fighting. “Everything that happens on my arm kind of hurts. I have the plate that runs from my wrist to my elbow. It’s something that’s in the back of my mind. I can still train 100 percent, but I can’t hold pads for anybody. I can’t help my teammates as much as I would like.”
VanZant has been out of action for nearly two years due to a host of issues with her arm, with tonight marking VanZant’s first bout since January of 2019.
The fighter has bounced between strawweight and flyweight during her UFC run, but flyweight is the place VanZant wants to stay at going forward.
“I know the people I’ve beat at strawweight already, like Felice Herrig, beating these people I could potentially be a ranked fighter in that division,” VanZant said. “Even though I haven’t had as many fights at 125 [pounds], I feel that’s where I belong. I’ve never missed weight and I never, ever, ever want to. I just feel like at 115, the risk of missing weight and hurting myself is much, much higher. I just don’t believe necessarily being the bigger fighter is the end all, be all, and being athletic and strong matters more. So I feel more confident and comfortable at 125.”
UFC 251 takes place tonight from Fight Island in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi with Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.