Losing is bad, giving up is worse. UFC strawweight contender Paige VanZant recently told MMAFighting that, though she is upset she lost in December to Rose Namajunas, her biggest regret is having tapped out to a rear-naked choke in the fifth and final round of their main event, instead of fighting until she went out or escaped.
Seeing Holly Holm do just that at UFC 196 seemed to inspire VanZant. Holm was caught in a choke in the fifth round by Miesha Tate and, instead of tapping out when things seemed lost, she kept on fighting and ultimately passed out.
"That shows a lot of heart, a lot of determination," VanZant said, of Holm.
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Holm's fighting spirit put VanZant's own loss into more perspective. "I do care that I lost, but it's the fact that I tapped out," she admitted.
"[By tapping out] I said, 'Rose, you can beat me. Go for it.'"
In retrospect, VanZant wishes she would have fought until her final breath. "I think it's just you giving up. It's submitting and saying, 'I give up, you can win.' And that's just where I feel I could have just gone out," she continued.
"I would have rather have gone out than tap out."
The fighter hopes to get the taste of quitting out of her mouth this July. If she has her way, she'll get back in the cage to compete at UFC 200, in Las Vegas.
"Time wise, that just works perfect for me," she explained.
""I'll have a great camp leading up to it."