Back in July 2020, VanZant fought out of her UFC contract. She lost to Amanda Ribas via submission. UFC President Dana White slammed “12 Gauge” in the media for saying she makes more money for sponsored Instagram posts than she did fighting in the UFC. VanZant tested free agency and signed with BKFC.
While VanZant may have fallen short in her BKFC debut, she doesn’t regret a thing. In fact, she told MMAFighting.com that she believes leaving the UFC was the best decision she’s ever made for her fighting career.
“I had my whole career was built off the UFC. I was in the UFC for like six years. It was very nerve-wracking. There weren’t a lot of people who left the UFC in the prime of their career. There were a lot of veterans that had left the UFC that were kind of on that tail end, looking for a few more fights.
“For me, I was a free agent at 26 years old. 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’s comments emerge around the same time current Bellator Women’s Featherweight Champion Cris Cyborg expressed her belief that leaving the UFC was a turning point in her career. While she already built a legacy outside the UFC and further enhanced it when she dominated the 145-pound division under the promotion, Cyborg felt she was never respected.