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‘No one knows where I’m at’ - UFC’s Cheyanne Vlismas in hiding, not sure of Octagon return

One of strawweight’s most exciting prospects sounds like she’s facing some serious challenges in her personal life heading into 2022.

Cheyanne Vlismas celebrates her victory over Mallory Martin on December 4th.
Cheyanne Vlismas celebrates her victory over Mallory Martin on December 4th.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Her debut fight inside the Octagon couldn’t have gone much worse for Cheyanna Vlismas (formerly Buys), a 3-round decision loss to Montserrat Ruiz that became most notable for Vlismas’ post-fight comments than any of the action during the contest itself. However, with two more fights in 2021, the 26-year-old walked out of the year with a 2-1 UFC record—and the label of one of the most promising new talents in the strawweight division.

For fans hoping to see her keep that momentum charging forward into the new year, however? It may be some time before Vlismas is back competing inside the cage. In a recent interview with MMA Fighting Vlismas revealed that she’s gone into hiding due to “reasons beyond belief.” The Xtreme Couture fighter wasn’t willing to elaborate on exactly what the circumstances were that pushed her to take drastic action, but says she hopes to be able to compete again by the summer.

“Unfortunately, I would love to fight again [and] soon, but because of reasons beyond belief, I cannot fight, and I cannot make any more money until I finalize some things in my life, and I don’t know when that will be,” Vlismas told MMA Fighting. “I’m trying to make that soon, but I don’t have an answer. I’m hoping by summer. I’m praying by summer. That’s what I’m gonna shoot for.

“As far as 2022, you’ll see me, but I have no answers. And honestly, it makes me want to cry how I have no answers for anything.”

“No one knows where I’m at, and I’m actually keeping it that way,” Vlismas added. “A lot of things happened before my fight – and even after my fight – and I decided what’s best is to just escape. I’ve been gone now for two weeks and I love it. I’m overseas and just living my life.”

Vlismas entered the UFC competing under the name Cheyanne Buys, following her 2019 marriage to fellow MMA fighter and UFC flyweight JP Buys. She changed her name back to Vlismas ahead of her December 4th bout against Mallory Martin. Vlismas won that fight via unanimous decision, picking up a ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus for her efforts, money Vlismas says “saved” her. Despite that success, Vlismas claims that – given her present circumstances – she wasn’t even supposed to take that bout.

“If it was [up to] me, I would love to fight, but I am told I cannot,” Vlismas revealed. “I was actually not even supposed to fight in my last fight. I was asked not to by some high-up people. They told me, ‘Please do not take this fight.’

“Even my family didn’t want me to fight, one, for being sick, and two, for other reasons I can’t speak about. No one wanted me to fight at all, so the fact I got to finish off 2021 with a fight, and winning, and proving to people just that little [more] like I did it, more for myself, it was a good feeling.”

A strange situation to be sure. But, hopefully one that sees Vlismas safe and back in competition sooner rather than later.