Thursday, December 2, 2021

Paige VanZant On Sage Northcutt, Reebok, Her Looks, & More

In advance of her first ever UFC main event on December 10th against Rose Namajunas, “12 Gauge” Paige VanZant gave a new interview to the folks at Submission Radio. She covered a number of topics, perhaps most importantly dealing with “male counterpart” Sage Northcutt, and here are some of the key quotes:

On meeting Sage Northcutt (UFC is pushing the Namajunas-VanZant card as “Sage and Paige” on social media) at UFC 192:

It was great to meet him. I met him right after he stepped off the scales to weigh-in. Super nice, very well spoken. I think he’s got a very, very bright future, and that’s going to be exciting to watch his uprising as well. We’re both young, we’re new generation and the new breed. It’s awesome to see another young person like myself being very successful in this sport.

…and the comparisons of “Sage and Paige” to Ken and Barbie:

Yeah, you know I’m definitely happy about the comparison. It’s not anything negative. We’re both young and that’s just the way it is. We’re young in a sport, that is something that is really an honour to be a part of, especially being in the UFC at this age. It’s a huge accomplishment. So it’s all great comparisons, and I’m excited that we get to fight on the same card together. I think it’s a great thing, and we’ll be able to show off as these young kids. We’re definitely coming to make a statement.

How did she deal with things like getting an exclusive Reebok sponsorship so early in her career?

I wanna say it wasn’t hard, but it was. I’m somebody who…I do take what people say to heart, and it was hard at first, but then I have to look at it like, I have so many blessings in my life. There’s no way I should look at anything like this with a negative heart or with a negative emotion behind it. So I just think about how blessed I am, and how hard – I know how hard I’ve worked, and I know what I’ve sacrificed, and I’ve had a very, very hard road to get to the UFC. So I know I deserve every second and every opportunity I’m getting, and I’m just going to continue to win fights and make a great statement for these companies. I am very blessed to be a part of Reebok, and I just want to continue be a good representative of their company, and for all the companies i work with moving forward.

Has it been tough dealing with criticism that she’s getting by on her looks?

Yeah, it is a funny question, and it’s obviously one that I’ve gotten a lot, and something so many people are curious about. But I think people just still have to remember that this is still an entertainment industry. It’s all about ticket sales and it’s about how many people you can bring to the fights, and how many sales you can get. And in reality though, if I lose my fights, none of it matters. It doesn’t matter if people think I’m good looking, it doesn’t matter if I have this draw behind me. If I lose my fights, I’m gonna lose all of that. So for me, the pressure is still high. The pressure is still on to win fights, and I’m gonna continue to do that.

Is the UFC building her up slowly with “easy” fights?

I think that anyone that knows anything about the Strawweight division, knows there’s only 30 athletes. So once you’re in the top 15, it’s very selective who you have fights with. So that’s why when we looked at a new opponent with Joanne [Calderwood], we had to find someone who either hadn’t just fought, or didn’t have a fight lined up already. That’s very hard. Rose just fought. So it’s awesome that she stepped up and she’s taking this fight. You know, and there isn’t enough girls in the division. But you have to take the fight that you’re offered, and so I’m gonna take every single fight the UFC offers me.

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