'There’s a better blonde in town': UFC's Justine Kish targets 'stupid star' Paige VanZant
Kish, who was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, but adopted by American parents as a child, hasn't won a bout in the UFC in nearly three years, dropping her two last outings to Ji Keon Kim and Felice Herrig.
But despite not claiming a win in the Octagon since December 2016, Kish has fixed her gaze squarely at VanZant - a fighter currently in the midst of financial squabbles with the UFC.
VanZant, who is 8-4 in her mixed martial arts career, saw an upswing in her public profile when she was featured alongside a number of high-profile athletes in Sports Illustrated's annual swimsuit issue and recently admitted to making more money from Instagram endorsements than she does from her primary career.
"With endorsements, I make way more money sitting at home posting pictures on Instagram than I do fighting," she said to Ariel Helwani on ESPN.Also on rt.com Knockout! UFC star Paige VanZant sizzles in Sports Illustrated swimsuit shoot (VIDEOS)
"With endorsement deals and everything I pull in from social media, I would actually be at a loss just taking a fight. If I were to stop everything I do outside of fighting and just fight, I would be at a loss unfortunately, by a long shot, so it’s just with TV endorsements, all the things I do, coming off of Sports Illustrated, it’s just like, if I’m going to keep breaking my arm, if I’m going to keep bleeding and sacrificing for this sport, I feel like it’s all fighters and all female fighters need to be recognized."
Kish, apparently, is non-plussed by VanZant's stance.
I can’t take it anymore. @paigevanzant keeps acting like a super star but her actions lately prove that she’s just stupid star. @ufc match me up with this 🌟🙏🏻. There's a better blonde in town that actually wants to 👊🏼.— Justine Kish (@JustineKish) September 2, 2019
"I can't take it anymore," Kish wrote. "@paigevanzant keeps acting like a super star but her actions lately prove that she’s just stupid star. @ufc match me up with this (star, please). There’s a better blonde in town that actually wants to (fight)."
Both fighters have been absent from the cage for long spells due to injury, but given VanZant's comments on the status of her contract with the UFC it remains to be seen if a callout such as Kish's will be enough to tempt the 25-year-old back into the cage with a significant contract adjustment beforehand - something that the UFC may be hesitant to do given her recent run of just two wins in her previous five bouts.