Young, beautiful, charismatic and a relentless force in the Octagon, Paige VanZant has “Superstar” written all over her. But at just 21 years old, with only seven pro fights under her belt, VanZant is still a very raw and wild prospect. As much as UFC may want to strike while the iron is hot and capitalize on her marketability, the organization is making a conscious effort to bring her along slowly.

The UFC knows that VanZant isn’t ready – technique wise – to take on the best the women’s strawweight division has to offer. If they were to put her in the cage with a wrestler like Carla Esparza or a striker like Joanna Jedrzejczyk, she would be demolished. VanZant would show up ready to bring the fight, but she just doesn’t have the technical base to compete at their level…yet.

Yet is the key word when it comes to VanZant because her future in this sport could not be brighter. Right now, VanZant has been successful because of her ability to overwhelm her opponents not her technical ability. Just look at her performance against Alex Chambers at UFC 191; VanZant absolutely mauled her for two full round before submitting her early in the third round via armbar.

VanZant’s technical ability will continue to develop the long she trains; especially considering the fact that she is training with one of the best fight teams in the world, Team Alpha Male. Once her technique catches up with her ability to apply constant, unwavering pressure VanZant will be ready for the big time.

She will be ready to usher in a new era in women’s MMA.

UFC women’s bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey, isn’t going to be around forever; she might not be around three years from now. Women’s MMA is going to need someone new to carry the banner; a new role model for all the young girls out there who have fallen in love with MMA because of Rousey. By the time Rousey steps away to begin the next chapter in her life, VanZant will be there to carry women’s MMA forward.

As long as the UFC doesn’t get impatient and they allow her the time she needs to let her skills develop, VanZant will become the sport’s next big star.

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.