At UFC 124 in St. Louis this weekend, Paige VanZant made her long-awaited return to the Octagon more than a year since Michelle Waterson, a.k.a. "The Karate Hottie," submitted her in her last UFC fight.
Maybe she should have stayed away. VanZant got smoked Sunday by Australian up-and-comer Jessica-Rose Clark, losing her third fight in her last four. Clark dominated every aspect of the fight and the judges awarded her the win by unanimous decision.
But maybe VanZant has an excuse. As she told her trainer in between rounds, she broke her arm in the first round. The damage appears to have been done on a first round spinning back fist that handed square on Clark's skull.
VanZant confirmed it on Twitter early Monday morning when she posted a photo of herself in the hospital and a shot of the arm x-ray.
Broken arm or not, this loss is another set back for VanZant, who just over a year ago looked like one of the UFC;s biggest rising stars. At least, the UFC was treating her as if she was. That was always based more on her looks than her fight skills, but she can't keep losing and expect to remain one of the faces of the sport.
That's not just a blow to her personal fortunes, it's a blow to the UFC. Not long ago, Dana White and company appeared to be banking on Ronda Rousey, VanZant, Sage Northcutt, Jon Jones and Conor McGregor to be its biggest stars. Now Rousey's done, VanZant keeps loosing, Northcutt is trying to break into acting, Jones is suspended and McGregor is about to be stripped of a title.
In the tweet above, VanZant suggests that she'll be back in the cage, but this loss has some ready to write her off.
Despite her pledge to return to the Octagon, VanZant might be ready for it too. Before her fight Sunday, she told TMZ that she's "definitely interested" in making the transition to the WWE. "If the knock comes onto my door, I'm taking it," she said.