Before Austin Vanderford competed on “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series,” some people wondered why he was given the opportunity. Some thought it was because, at that time, he was the fiancé of UFC’s Paige VanZant.
Vanderford scored an impressive comeback submission win over Angelo Trevino in that July fight. However, it was not enough to convince White that Vanderford deserved a spot on the UFC roster. Since then, Vanderford took another fight and scored a first-round knockout win. This event was last month under the Final Fight Championship banner.
The fighter is undefeated (6-0) and even though he did not win a spot on White’s show, he is feeling good about the trajectory of his career.
He told MMA Junkie:
I didn’t get the contract, but at the end of the day, I want to go out and earn it and make sure that whatever big organization (I sign with), that I earn that. That it wasn’t just given to me and what not. And I think I’m on the right track. In my heart, I know that I can compete with all these guys (in the UFC). I can compete with anybody. But, you know, other people need to believe that too, and I’m fine with just working and proving that.
Vanderford is not concerned with which MMA promotion is able to fight for, he just wants the best opportunity for him. Growing up, it was his dream to fight for the UFC, but he would feel the same about Bellator.
When it comes to signing onto the roster of a major promoter, Vanderford has the full support of his now-wife VanZant. It does not have to be the UFC. The two admitted the idea of being a UFC couple is nice but it is not the end of the world if it does not happen.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily our goal to be like, ‘the married couple in the UFC.’ I think it’s our goal just to be successful at absolutely everything. Of course, I want to be successful within the UFC myself, and hopefully the next thing is to get him to just keep winning fights and get him on a big promotion,” stated VanZant.
She is nearing her return from an injury.
Vanderford stated that the UFC may be the pinnacle at the moment, but things are changing and moving. What the fighter wants the most is to be a world champion. He wants to compete with the best and that is what matters to him. Whatever level that ends up being on, is fine with Vanderford.
By Jeanette Smith
MMA Junkie: UFC’s Paige VanZant, Austin Vanderford discuss goals as MMA couple
Image by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons – Creative Commons License