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Who Is Paige VanZant ? Read More About Her

Who Is Paige VanZant ? Read More About Her

Paige Michelle VanZant was born in March 26, 1994, is an American mixed martial artist, boxer, author, and model. VanZant was signed to the flyweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. In August 2020, VanZant signed a contract to fight exclusively in the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship. Outside of mixed martial arts, she has appeared in the television series Dancing with the Stars and Chopped.

VanZant was born in Dundee, Oregon, and raised in Dayton, Oregon. Her parents owned a dance studio, and she was brought up dancing ballet, jazz, and hip hop for over 13 years. As a teen, she appeared in a mop commercial for Bissell. She was considered a tomboy while growing up, and loved the outdoors; her hobbies included riding dirt bikes and fishing. In high school, she was regularly bullied by a group of girls. The bullying included mocking her surname Sletten, which students changed to “Slutton”. She eventually changed her surname legally to VanZant because of the persistent bullying. She chose “VanZant” because it was one of her mother’s students’ last names and she liked the way it sounded. However, she has noted this experience as one of the reasons she likes being a martial artist and having the ability to defend herself.

After VanZant moved with her family to Sparks, Nevada, she was looking for a dance studio when she came across UFC veteran Ken Shamrock’s gym, where she began training in boxing and other martial arts. After winning an amateur fight at age 18, VanZant made her professional MMA debut on June 30, 2012, at UWF’s Tournament of Warriors finale against Jordan Nicole Gaza in Corpus Christi, Texas, winning by split decision. On September 22, 2012, she faced Amber Stautzenberger at Premier Fight Series 2 and won via unanimous decision.

VanZant typically attacks with aggressive grappling, then seeks to finish the fight with strikes. Her style includes ground-and-pound, dirty boxing, and a wide variety of clinch striking. While standing, she will often move the fight toward the fence and utilize knees, elbows, forearms, punches, and throws.

VanZant is noted for the constant pressure she applies while grappling. If an opponent escapes her clinch, she will usually look to close the distance again within moments. At UFC Fight Night 57, Kailin Curran struggled to establish range against VanZant. During their three-round bout, Felice Herrig was repeatedly held down by VanZant’s grappling. The first fighter to defeat VanZant, Tecia Torres, largely avoided her clinch while attacking with strikes near the center of the cage. While fighting from a distance, she typically attacks with high kicks and punches. She credits her past experiences dancing with her ability to perform flexible and agile movements in her fights; she demonstrated this when she knocked out Bec Rawlings with a jumping switch kick which earned her a “Performance of the Night” bonus. In addition to her striking, VanZant has a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

On March 8, 2016, VanZant was announced as one of the celebrities who would compete on season 22 of Dancing with the Stars. She partnered with professional dancer Mark Ballas. The couple reached the finals of the show and finished in second place behind model Nyle DiMarco and his partner Peta Murgatroyd.

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