One thing that you can always say about female athletes is that they keep themselves in absolutely wonderful condition.
From the UFC cage to the cover of national magazines, and from quarantine bikini pictures to full-on naked home spousal workouts, Paige VanZant just loves being in the spotlight on way or another.
But the 26-year-old has recently come under fire by fellow UFC fighter Curtis Blaydes, who questioned the 8-4 fighter’s and Rachel Ostovich’s credentials in the cage or whether the organization draws too heavily on their looks as a promotional tool.
“So you telling me Paige Vanzant and Rachel Osto-whatever actually deserve time remain on the UFC’s roster for their ‘athletic achievements’ and their not just on cards for their sex appeal?” heavyweight Blaydes mused.
Not one to take such a hit lying down, Van Zant defended their blend of brawn and beauty and fired back: “Good thing we’re so pretty. It’s going to make when we punch each other in the face hurt a lot less….. but that much HOTTER.”
So, has VanZant got the balance right between muscle and makeup? Here’s 5 times VanZant broke the internet so you can make up your own mind.
Sizzling Sports Illustrated Cover
In what has become more famous than perhaps any of Van Zant’s shots in the octagon, the flyweight first broke the internet in a Sports Illustrated shoot for the magazine’s annual Swimsuit Issue in March 2019.
She joined Ronda Rousey as the only two mixed martial artists to feature in the ‘athletes’ edition of the mag, the significance of which she was quite keen to point out.
“I feel like when you’re in Sports Illustrated, that means you make it,” VanZant said of her participation.
“So it’s a really big deal. I’m mostly excited for people to see this side of me. I think people do forget that, yes, I’m a professional fighter … I punch people in the face for a living. But you can look really cute, too.”
Just as the Covid-19 lockdown blues were setting in, America’s Sweetheart popped up to put us all in a lighter mood with sun-kissed bikini selfies to her 2.5 million Instagram followers in March.
We’re not sure exactly why VanZant felt the need to share the pics with the world but it definitely brightened up the quarantine of a few followers who weren’t spending their self-isolation in such a sunny place as her.
Lay off on the beach
If you’re going to announce a long layoff from the octagon, then make sure you give fans a reason to miss you – and VanZant did exactly that last June.
Before announcing she would be out of action for around three months to undergo surgery on her right arm, she posted stunning snaps from the beach with the so-cryptic-it-was-nonsensical caption “I’m not medium hot, I’m extra spicy”.
Naked home workouts
One time VanZant did legitimately ‘break’ the internet for photos loosely connected to her athletic achievements, was her naked workout routine with her other half.
When you’re married to a fellow mixed martial artist, surely you would be working together to burn off that pent-up aggression that comes as a byproduct as not training to render another person unconscious every day.
VanZant and husband Austin Vanderford, an unbeaten 9-0 fighter currently signed to Bellator, took things to a new level when they stripped naked to workout together in their home gym. Our thoughts are with the photographer.
If that wasn’t enough, VanZant and Vanderford proceeded to picture themselves around the house in strange poses that included chips, an orange umbrella and even Conor McGregor’s Proper 12 whiskey – now there’s an eclectic mix.
Flimsily defending the snaps as ‘art’, VanZant managed to weird-out a good portion of MMA fans with their routines that included hanging off one another’s derobed body in a quarantine craze that we’re glad never caught on.