Bec rawlings is aware she will have to compete with Britain Hart in the rematch at BKFC 26 Friday, but the “queen-of-bare-knuckle”, has already set her sights on another opponent later this year.
Thanks to an ever expanding roster at BKFC, Rawlings has a lot more competition now than when she made her debut for the promotion back in 2018 but one name in particular has stood out to her above the rest thanks to a past fight they shared while both competing in the UFC.
“I have a lot to pick with [Paige VanZant],” Rawlings said to MMA Fighting. Rawlings said that she beat me in MMA using a lucky kick, and would love to defeat her in bare-knuckle.
” It’s the fight I believe makes the most sense for me, and for the fans. I would just love to punch her in the face one more time. So I’m definitely pushing for that fight.”
Back in 2016, Rawlings fell to VanZant by TKO after she got caught with a switch kick that knocked her down to the canvas just 17 seconds into the second round.
Rawlings hoped that one day she could avenge her loss. But now, she is back to fight in BKFC, where VanZant has also been signed. It almost seems like the match is certain to take place.
Of course, Rawlings has a better established resume than VanZant in bare-knuckle competition after going 3-0 and serving as the Police Gazette women’s champion before leaving to return to mixed martial arts. Meanwhile, VanZant has yet to find her footing in BKFC after suffering back-to-back decision losses to Hart and Rachael Ostovich.
Despite these setbacks VanZant is still committed to her future of bare-knuckle fight. That’s why she will be back in action this August, when the promotion makes its debut in the United Kingdom.
While VanZant has yet to taste victory in BKFC, Rawlings still gives her credit for showing up and displaying a lot of heart and determination even in those defeats.
“I remember saying she’s really tough and resilient and she’s showing that,” Rawlings said. “In her fights, she did not back down. She was a skilled fighter and went to the mat. She was able to show skill and I can’t fault her.
“You can sit back and throw one or two shots in MMA and really kind of control a fight, I guess. The combination of boxing punches and how many are needed to throw in each round is completely different
According to Rawlings, the shortcomings that have plagued VanZant are really no different than tendencies she’s seen in other mixed martial artists making the move to bare-knuckle.
“I think their approach, like even Pearl Gonzalez if I was going to fault her fight, it was the same thing,” Rawlings said. They still approach it as if it were an MMA match, but only with punches. If they want to make any changes, I believe they must change how they approach it. This is a sprint of two minutes. You don’t have five minutes to set things up and work on things. Two minutes are all it takes to get out there and push the pace.
“I think that’s probably the biggest thing that I’ve seen with Paige’s fights. She’s still kind of MMA minded. She went out there and showed skill. She showed heart and resilience and I can’t fault her for that but I don’t think she’s going to have much for me. I don’t really rate many of the girls in bare-knuckle to be honest. It’s clear that I feel one of the best girls. I just need to get out there again and show it to everyone again and remind everyone.”
If Rawlings is successful in her return fight against Hart on Friday, a title shot against the winner of the upcoming bout between reigning champion Christine Ferea and Taylor Starling would probably make the most sense.
That said, Rawlings can’t deny her desire to face VanZant again if given the opportunity plus she knows that would be a massive fight for both of them as well as BKFC.
” I want to become a world champion again,” Rawlings stated. “I never lost it. No one ever beat me for that belt so in my heart, I’m still world champ but obviously I’ve got to go back there and fight Christine [Ferea] for that or whoever is the title holder when it comes to that chance.
” I’m interested in the England card. I’d definitely love to go there and fight. I’m not overlooking Britain but my goal is to knock Britain out and then back it up in [August]. I will definitely be pushing for that England card. If it’s against Paige, even better.”