There’s something to be said for developing a fighter slowly, and allowing them time to progress as martial artists rather than trying to capitalize on a young star’s burgeoning popularity. Say what you will about Conor McGregor and just how he earned a title shot against the number one pound for pound fighter in the UFC at the moment, Jose Aldo, but the man has had five fights in the octagon, and won all five.

Look no further than that, and the fact that overall, McGregor is 17-2, and you’ll understand why the UFC are going the slow and steady approach with Paige VanZant.

Word came out this week that the UFC was targeting a fall date for the rising strawweight star, perhaps UFC 191, and a bout with Alex Chambers, who failed to make it far on The Ultimate Fighter, but who has since picked up her first win in the octagon over Kailin Curran — the fighter VanZant beat in her UFC debut last year.

That rumor was a shock to some, given VanZant had just finished a top ten fighter in Felice Herrig at UFC on Fox 15 in New Jersey this past April, especially since UFC President Dana White was quoted afterwards as saying VanZant would move higher up the food chain.

However, VanZant has now confirmed the fight, and career wise, it’s good news for the popular young star.

While Dana White suggested she move up into deeper waters, the fact is, Paige VanZant has just two wins in the UFC, and six fights in her career to date. Feeding her to champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk would be like leading a lamb to the slaughter, especially after watching Jedrzejczyk rearrange the facial features of Jessica Penne last weekend at UFC Fight Night 69. And that’s what VanZant would have been looking at had she faced, and won against, a higher ranked opponent.

While Chambers is a step back in the rankings, the UFC are protecting an investment here, and while a certain segment of fans will claim that VanZant is getting an “easy” fight, the reality is that there are no easy fights in the UFC, and this fight will simply allow VanZant more time to grow as a fighter.

Should a title shot come knocking when Paige VanZant has five wins in the division, sure — then you can talk title contender. For now, the UFC isn’t protecting a star so much as they’re developing one, which is exactly what they should be doing.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.

  • srichey321

    Smart move. She needs at least five fights and 2-3 years of more training. before she goes against someone like JJ.