Paige VanZant inked a deal with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships following her final fight on her UFC contract in July.
The man responsible for getting VanZant ready for the new challenge is American Top Team boxing coach Gabriel de Oliveira.
Son of 1968 Olympic bronze medalist Servillo de Oliveira, Gabriel guarantees Paige will be prepared for her first bare-knuckle fight.
“We’ll have more time to work with Paige, because she will only fight in November or early next year – we don’t have the date set yet – but we’ve already seen how she moves,” de Oliveira said in an interview with MMA Fighting.
“She’s not totally raw. We’ll have to work, add some concepts and change a few concepts she’s carrying over, but I think it’s going to be a smooth transition.
Oliveira says training athletes for these matches is “less difficult” than working on fighter’s boxing for MMA because there are no kicks or takedowns.
“The most important is that she’s willing to do it. One cool thing about her is that we say something and she does it, she wants to learn, she’s thirsty for knowledge.
Some other athletes we eventually work with, when we say something they go, ‘Oh, no, not that, I don’t want,’ you know?
‘I want my way, this is my way.’ She’s not like that, she understands she has to adapt and make some changes in order to do well in this new sport.”
“I was happy that she came here because, even though she’s new to this sport, she’s a big name in combat sports and adds a lot to the team,” de Oliveira said.
BKFC has yet to announce a date and opponent for VanZant’s first match. VanZant said, “it was the opportunity I was excited about.”
“I’ve been a fan of their sport and it’s something that I’m really going to be able to show off my striking,” she said. “If you look at my MMA career, my biggest downfall has been my jiu-jitsu and my striking has been my passion. I’m so excited to show that off.”