If the circumstances were right, Paige VanZant would consider a future showdown with former UFC women’s bantamweight queen Ronda Rousey.
The two female stars reportedly had a run-in after VanZant congratulated Holly Holm for knocking out Rousey at UFC 193 in November 2015. If “Rowdy” were able to cut enough weight to compete at flyweight, VanZant claims she would be up for the challenge.
“Hey, if she wants to meet me at 125. I’d have to go up [from strawweight],” VanZant told TMZ Sports. “I would consider going up to 125. It’s not that big of a weight gain for me. We’ll see. We’ll see if we meet at 125.”
For now, the Team Alpha Male standout has more pressing matters to attend to, as she meets Michelle Waterson in the UFC on Fox 22 headliner in Sacramento, Calif., on Saturday night. Rousey, meanwhile, returns for the first time since the loss to Holm when she challenges Amanda Nunes for the 135-pound belt at UFC 207 in Las Vegas on Dec. 31.
VanZant doesn’t expect the layoff to hinder Rousey, who won her first 12 professional MMA bouts — 11 inside of a round — before suffering the upset loss to Holm.
“I don’t believe in ring rust. I believe it’s 100 percent mental. So if she’s 100 percent mentally focused on that night, she’s gonna win it,” VanZant said. “I say Ronda by armbar.”
Rousey has been largely off the radar since UFC 193, making only a handful of public appearances. Until she officially calls it quits, an ongoing storyline will be Rousey’s future in the sport.
“I think it could be her last fight,” VanZant said. “It’s a big deal for her, but she’s so successful outside of fighting she doesn’t need to fight anymore. It’s such a violent sport and it takes a lot out of you, but either way she’s had a very successful career.”