UFC flyweight Paige VanZant is scheduled to undergo surgery on her right arm on June 13 after she reinjured the limb earlier this year.
VanZant (8-4) told ESPN she fractured her arm during a sparring session in January but was initially told she would not require surgery. She was hoping to return to the Octagon in July but learned last week that the bone has not healed properly. She is expected to be sidelined approximately three months.
"I actually sparred last month and was doing strength and conditioning," VanZant said. "I wanted to be on the UFC card on July 20 in Texas, but my chiropractor wanted me to get my arm checked out again before accepting a fight. I saw a surgeon who works with the Portland Trail Blazers, and he told me, 'Yes, you 100 percent need surgery.'"
VanZant, 25, first suffered a broken right arm during a fight against Jessica-Rose Clark in January 2018. She underwent two surgeries last year, including the insertion of a metal plate and moving bone from her hip to the area. That initial injury finally did heal; however, this year's fracture occurred in the same bone, below the placement of the metal rod.
VanZant admits that last year's recovery was so frustrating that she entertained the idea of retirement, but she is hopeful she'll return before the end of the year from this one.
"After the second surgery, I said, 'If I break my arm again, I'm quitting. I'm just not meant to fight,'" VanZant said. "But now that I've done it again, I'm at a point where it's like, 'No. I just don't give a s--- anymore. My stupid arm is not going to stop me.' I need one more surgery, and I'm going to be fine.
"I think the most frustrating part is I feel so blessed to have the team around me. I know how much my coach, Fabiano Scherner, cares about me and I want to perform for him. It's hard not to be jealous of everyone fighting because ultimately, this is still what I want to do right now."
The timing of the injury was especially unfortunate, as VanZant revealed she only has one fight left on her UFC contract and intends to fight it out.
Injuries have limited VanZant to just two appearances in the past 29 months. As she goes into her next contract negotiation, she wants to show she's still a legitimate contender in the 125-pound division.
"For me, I want to know I'm valued," VanZant said. "It's not that I think the UFC doesn't value me now, but I want to continue to show them how much I'm worth. And I think I need this last fight on my contract to show that.
"I want to be moving forward off two wins and be able to say, 'This is how good I am.' I want them to see that. Not just fans, even the UFC, they can move on quickly to the next star. I want to remind them I'm a star. I have one fight left. I'm going to have this surgery and get that fight over with."