For UFC's Paige VanZant, star power has more meaning than a belt

Los Angeles Times 

Any questions about Paige VanZant's competitive nature and toughness were effectively answered by the bloody beating she took at the hands of Rose Namajunas a year ago this month. So when the 22-year-old recent "Dancing With the Stars" runner-up said this week in an interview that "I really haven't thought about" winning a UFC women's straw-weight title, the first reaction is to question her commitment. In light of the UFC's purchase this year by Beverly Hills talent agency WME-IMG and by considering VanZant's popularity noted in her main-event placement on Saturday's UFC Fight Night card on Fox from Sacramento, it quickly becomes apparent VanZant is deeply driven by a more universal definition of success. "I take fights as they come. The ultimate goal is to win and win, but I also have many other things outside fighting that I'm pursuing and I'm passionate about," VanZant told the Los Angeles Times while taking tiny bites from a kale salad in an interview at a hillside restaurant on the Westside.

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