UFC flyweight Paige VanZant recently underwent a second surgery to fix a broken right arm. If recovery goes smoothly, she says she will aim for a return to the Octagon by the end of 2018.
"The road to recovery has been really long, but I know I'll be back in there," VanZant told ESPN's Ariel Helwani on Monday. "My managers are already talking opponents to fight by the end of the year. If I get good news at the end of this month, for sure I'm fighting at the end of this year.
"I'm thinking December. If everything goes right, [my arm] is supposed to be totally healed by then. I'll for sure be cleared."
VanZant (7-4) suffered the injury throwing a spinning back fist in the second round of a fight with Jessica-Rose Clark on January 14. She lost the bout by unanimous decision. VanZant had surgery afterward but the arm did not improve.
"I'm hoping this surgery went a lot better than the last one," VanZant says. "Right now I'm just trying to take it really easy. I have my checkup at the end of the month. That will determine a lot.
"[The doctors] don't know exactly what went wrong. Six months went by and my arm had never healed."
VanZant has dropped three of her past four fights. She moved up to the flyweight division from strawweight before her most recent bout with Clark due to multiple hard weight cuts.
When asked for a particular opponent she is eyeing, she simply stated she's "looking at the entire 125-pound division." That said, another shot at Clark would be of interest.
"I would love to get the rematch with Jessica-Rose," VanZant says. "I really want that one back. It's really bitter to taste defeat. I would love to show what I have."