Will a Paige VanZant-Bec Rawlings rematch happen in BKFC?
Back in December, Rawlings floated her interest to fight VanZant in BKFC.
â€œWith Bare-Knuckle signing Paige, itâ€™s definitely garnered a lot of interest in people wondering if Iâ€™m going to fight her,â€ Rawlings told mmafighting.com. â€œI would love that fight. [Iâ€™m] sure we could probably try to work something out with Bellator and Bare Knuckle, doing a cross-promotion thing. I donâ€™t know, Iâ€™d be down for that. Weâ€™ll just have to wait and see.â€
But when asked for her reaction, VanZant isn’t as excited as Rawlings about the prospect of a rematch.
“Of course, she wants to fight me again. I knocked her out with a head kick the last time we fought. [Iâ€™m] really interested in fighting people who I havenâ€™t fight yet or havenâ€™t beaten. So if she wants to come back to BKFC, thatâ€™s totally fine, and if the matchup makes sense, but Iâ€™m in Bare Knuckle Boxing working my way in the division for a title. And I just donâ€™t want to fight people because they want to call me out,” VanZant told Empire Sports Media in an exclusive interview last Tuesday ahead of her BKFC debut against Britain Hart.
Aching for Payback
VanZant will headline BKFC’s Knucklemania tonight, and if she emerges victorious, a Rawlings rematch could be in the pipeline.
Rawlings has a perfect 3-0 record in BKFC, including a split decision against Hart, before she returned to MMA via Bellator.
The Australian brawler wants to exact revenge for her 2016 loss to VanZant in UFC. VanZant won the fight via a second-round TKO with a stunning switch kick.
The loss to VanZant started the fall of Rawlings in the UFC. She never recovered as she also lost her next three fights and was subsequently released.
Rawlings revamped her career with BKFC.
But unlike Rawlings, VanZant left UFC on her terms. While she lost her last UFC fight against Amanda Ribas, VanZant left the MMA octagon with a solid 8-5 record. She successfully became a crossover star and one of the most recognizable MMA fighters after reaching the finals of the Dancing With Stars in 2016.
While VanZant maintained her focus is on BKFC for now, she’s keeping her options open. She revealed that her BKFC contract has a clause that will allow her to fight in the octagon again.
“The fortunate thing about Bare Knuckle, I could take an MMA fight, boxing fight during my contract with them. I definitely havenâ€™t closed the door on MMA at all or straight boxing. I think Iâ€™m just excited about this opportunity. I think it opens up the doors for me to continue to compete and be a more well-rounded martial artist,” VanZant said.
But first things first, the 26-year old VanZant needs to take care of business tonight against Hart.
She’s confident that she’ll shock the world after her six-month training with American Top Team.