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Paige VanZant believes UFC should make women’s flyweight class before featherweight

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Paige VanZant
Paige VanZant
Esther Lin/

SACRAMENTO -- If Paige VanZant had the option of fighting at 125 pounds instead of 115, she’d take it.

VanZant will meet Michelle Waterson in the strawweight main event of UFC on FOX 23 on Saturday night at the Golden 1 Center, at a time when women’s weight classes are front and center in the news.

The UFC announced earlier this week that Holly Holm would meet Germaine de Randamie at UFC 208 to determine the first UFC women’s 145-pound champion.

But VanZant feels the company should have gone to flyweight first, especially given that the fighter universally acknowledged as the best at 145, Cris “Cyborg” Justino, isn’t involved in the featherweight fight.

“I feel like if they are making a 145 weight class, they should build it around Cris Cyborg, she really deserves it,” VanZant said at Thursday’s open workouts. “But if they’re not going to build it around Cris, then I think they should have opened up the 125 division.”

There’s a significant, 20-pound difference between the UFC’s two current women’s classes, bantamweight and strawweight. Using herself as an example, VanZant feels that splitting the difference at 125 would create a deeper weight class than 145 is ever likely to be.

“I don’t walk at 135 pounds, I’d be way too small for 135,” VanZant said. “There are a lot of us who would be successful, there are a lot of 125ers who would come to the UFC, so, you know. I think the UFC is very strategic with their plans and they probably know what they’re doing.”