Paige VanZant: From Dancing Queen to Bare-Knuckle Brawling


Paige VanZant, a name synonymous with grit, athleticism, and a touch of unexpected glamor, has carved a unique path in the world of combat sports. Her journey, spanning from graceful pirouettes to bone-crunching bare-knuckle brawls, is a testament to her unwavering spirit and ever-evolving persona.

Early Life and Dancing Roots

Paige VanZant Dancing Roots
Image Source: Getty Images

Born in 1994 in Oregon, Paige’s childhood was steeped in the world of dance. Her parents owned a dance studio, and for over 13 years, she honed her skills in ballet, jazz, and hip-hop. This early exposure to movement and discipline laid the foundation for her future athletic prowess.

However, Paige VanZant wasn’t just a ballerina in the making. A self-proclaimed tomboy, she loved the outdoors, riding dirt bikes, fishing, and embracing the adventurous spirit. This duality, the ballerina and the thrill-seeker, would become a defining characteristic of her personality.

Transition to Combat Sports

Paige VanZant Martial arts Fighter
Image Source: Getty Images

At 17, Paige VanZant discovered her passion for mixed martial arts (MMA). The transition wasn’t easy. Years of ballet had built lean muscles, not the combat-ready physique she needed. But Paige’s determination was unwavering. She trained relentlessly, transforming her body and honing her fighting skills.

The Rise of “12 Gauge” VanZant

Paige’s professional MMA career began in 2012. Nicknamed “12 Gauge” for her explosive punches and relentless attacks, she quickly amassed an impressive record, winning 8 of her first 9 fights. Her energetic fighting style and captivating personality made her a fan favorite, propelling her to the spotlight of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

Paige VanZant Social media

Paige VanZant’s social media presence is as dynamic and multifaceted as her career itself. Here’s a closer look at her platforms and what you can expect to find:

Instagram (@paigevanzant)

  • Followers: 3.2 million (as of Jan 16, 2024)
  • Content: A mix of fitness content (workout videos, gym selfies), glimpses into her personal life (travel adventures, family moments), promotional photos for her clothing line and other ventures, and occasional throwback posts to her dancing days and UFC career.
  • Style: Energetic, playful, and often humorous. Paige isn’t afraid to show her goofy side and cracks jokes in captions and stories.
  • Engagement: High! Paige actively interacts with her followers, replying to comments, answering questions in Q&A sessions, and running polls to gauge their interest.

Twitter (@PaigeVanzant)

  • Followers: 657.5K Followers (as of Jan 16, 2024)
  • Content: More focused on news and updates related to her career. Tweets about upcoming BKFC fights, training updates, reactions to current events in combat sports, and occasional retweets of fan content.
  • Style: Direct, informative, and sometimes sassy. Paige uses Twitter to share her opinions and engage in discussions about MMA and other topics.
  • Engagement: Moderate. Paige interacts with fans on Twitter but not as frequently as on Instagram.

Facebook (@PaigeVanzant)

  • Followers: 5.2 million (as of Jan 16, 2024)
  • Content: Similar to Instagram, with a mix of personal and professional content. More emphasis on longer videos, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and motivational posts.
  • Style: More laid-back and personal compared to other platforms. Paige VanZant shares heartfelt messages, inspirational quotes, and longer anecdotes about her life.
  • Engagement: Moderate. Paige posts regularly on Facebook but interaction with fans seems lower than on Instagram.

Other platforms

  • OnlyFans: Paige has an active (OnlyFans page) where she shares more exclusive content, including fitness tutorials, workout challenges, and behind-the-scenes glimpses into her life.
  • YouTube: Paige has a YouTube channel with vlogs, workout routines, interviews, and challenges.

UFC Stardom and Beyond

Paige’s UFC stint was marked by both triumphs and challenges. She faced top contenders, showcasing her technical skills and unwavering heart. Her memorable victories over Felice Herrig and Alex Chambers cemented her place as a rising star. However, she also faced setbacks, including a devastating loss to Rose Namajunas.

Despite the ups and downs, Paige VanZant remained a fan favorite. Her charisma and willingness to embrace her femininity in a male-dominated sport challenged stereotypes and inspired a new generation of female fighters. She even ventured beyond the octagon, appearing on shows like Dancing with the Stars and Chopped, showcasing her versatility and captivating personality.

Evolving Horizons

In 2018, Paige made the bold decision to leave the UFC. She sought new challenges, venturing into the world of bare-knuckle boxing with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC). This move surprised many, but it was a testament to Paige’s relentless pursuit of pushing boundaries and testing her limits.

Her BKFC debut in 2019 was a spectacle. Despite facing a more experienced opponent, Paige VanZant showcased her resilience and fighting spirit, earning the respect of fans and fellow fighters. She continues to compete in BKFC, proving that her passion for combat sports burns bright.

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Beyond the Ring

Paige is not just a fighter; she’s a multifaceted entrepreneur and businesswoman. She has her own clothing line, a podcast, and an active presence on social media, connecting with fans and sharing her journey. She is also an advocate for mental health awareness and animal rights, using her platform to speak out on important issues.

A True Renaissance Woman

Paige VanZant is a force to be reckoned with. She is a talented athlete, a captivating personality, and a successful entrepreneur. Her journey, from dancing studios to bare-knuckle brawls, is an inspiration to anyone who dares to chase their dreams and defy expectations.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, Paige VanZant’s extraordinary journey from the graceful world of dance to the brutal realm of combat sports reflects a relentless spirit and a commitment to self-discovery. Her evolution from a ballet dancer to a fierce mixed martial artist, aptly nicknamed “12 Gauge,” captivated fans and challenged stereotypes within the male-dominated sphere of UFC. Paige’s decision to transition to Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship showcased her determination to explore new horizons and push the boundaries of her capabilities.

Beyond the ring, Paige’s dynamic social media presence, with millions of followers across platforms, illustrates her multifaceted personality. Her engagement with fans on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook provides a glimpse into her energetic, playful, and sometimes sassy style. Paige’s ventures extend beyond combat sports, encompassing entrepreneurship, podcasting, and advocacy for mental health and animal rights.