Former UFC flyweight turned recent Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship signing Paige VanZant will be making her promotional debut in 2021. Her opponent has yet to be determined, but if the promotion is still looking for someone, then it could probably look no further than one of their already established names in Bec Rawlings.
Rawlings, who is also a fellow former UFC flyweight, did not have the best time during her run in the Octagon. After going on a four-fight losing streak — which included a knockout loss to VanZant — Rawlings was cut from the UFC. It did not take long for Rawlings to bounce back from such a tumultuous time as she found her way to BFKC and made her debut at the very first show, BKFC 1: The Beginning.
Rawlings picked up a second-round stoppage against Alma Garcia and went on to earn two more victories under the BKFC banner in performances that saw her aptly named the ‘Queen of Bare Knuckle’. Now on a three-fight winning streak, Rawlings looks forward to what is next in her career and if it just so happens to be a rematch with VanZant, then she is all for it.
In a recent interview with Damon Martin of MMA Fighting, Rawlings expressed her interest in the VanZant rematch and wondered about ways to make it happen eventually. Rawlings is also currently signed to Bellator MMA where she will more than likely be fighting next, so the idea of the two promotions coming together to make Vanzant vs. Rawlings 2 would be perfect.
“With Bare-Knuckle signing Paige it’s definitely garnered a lot of interest in people wondering if I’m going to fight her,” said Rawlings. “I would love that fight. I’m sure we could probably try to work something out with Bellator and Bare Knuckle, doing a cross promotion thing. I don’t know, I’d be down for that. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Rawlings and VanZant first met four years ago at UFC on FOX: Maia vs. Condit. In the opening seconds of the second round, VanZant threw a switch kick that connected with Rawlings, who was immediately dropped to the canvas. VanZant jumped in with some follow-up punches on the ground before the referee stopped the fight.
Although she is years removed from the fight, Rawlings admitted she still thinks about that fight and its end result. With her and VanZant now in the same circle again, getting that shot at redemption is ideal for Rawlings.
“I would love to avenge that loss,” said Rawlings. “That loss still sits in the deep pit of my stomach and I’ve never let that go. I think that she has no hope in bare-knuckle boxing against me. I really don’t think she’s going to do well against any of the girls but especially with the girls I faced. I just don’t see her as a boxer. She’s never been a great boxer. She’s been a great grappler. A very good kicker. But boxing is a different game.
“I definitely feel like she wouldn’t get out of the first round with me. I’m very confident in that fight and I’d love to avenge my losses as best I could. Obviously it’s not MMA, it’s not avenging it completely but I would definitely love to fight her again.”