What makes Paige VanZant special? If you ask her, it’s the mental edge she has over her competitors.
“I feel that I have a mental edge over my opponents. I have that will where I won’t give up, no matter what happens,” VanZant told Fox Sports.
Paige VanZant won her debut UFC fight in the women’s strawweight division back in November, and is preparing for her second fight, which scheduled for Saturday against Felice Herrig. The 30-year-old Herrig, a UFC veteran, comes into the fight with a 10-5 MMA record, according to Sherdog.
Compared to many UFC fighters, VanZant has seen success with mixed martial arts relatively quickly, but that has come as no surprise to the 21-year-old fighter, who told Fox Sports that she’s always done everything quickly.
“I grew up really fast. I went to college when I was 16 so I was always just ahead of my time.”
VanZant went on to say that she’s always had a strong support group around her, so being thrown into new situations isn’t too overwhelming. VanZant mentions UFC veteran and Alpha Male teammate Urijah Faber as someone who has helped prepare her for the UFC big time.
In addition, Paige VanZant has always been able to adjust well to quick transitions, she said. That, coupled with support from Faber and other Team Alpha Male training partners, helps VanZant stay calm in difficult situations, she told Fox Sports.
“I went pro after just one amateur fight, so I was thrown in the deep end right away. I’ve gotten my experience from the quality of opponents I’ve faced, and in training. I’ve been on that level where I’ve been in front of crowds for just about my whole career. It is not something that has an affect on me.”
The ability to stay cool under pressure is a quality that VanZant believes will serve her well when she meets Herrig in the cage on Saturday.
VanZant also believes that her youth and lack of experience plays to her favor, she said during a press conference in February. During that press conference, Paige VanZant had this to say about Herrig’s “predictable” style and experience in the cage.
“She has a very strong Muay Thai game, that’s kind of what she’s been known for, but I do think she’s a predictable fighter. She’s been around for a really long time, so she’s already got her style set in stone, whereas I’m very young obviously and I can still change my style and I have a lot to learn. She’s not going to know what’s coming for her.”
In response, Herrig said that Paige VanZant “either is starting to believe her own hype or just doesn’t understand what it takes to become elite at something.”
Whether Paige VanZant will defeat Herrig Saturday remains to be seen, but since the fight was announced, one thing has become clear: Herrig and VanZant are ready to go.
So ready, in fact, that UFC President Dana White had to separate Felice Herrig and Paige VanZant during the pre-fight photo op Thursday.
Will you tune in to watch Felice Herrig take on Paige VanZant Saturday evening?
[Photo credit: Paige VanZant Instagram account: @paigevanzantufc]