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Q and A with Paige VanZant

Paige VanZant joins the UFC
Paige VanZant joins the UFC
Bill Larkin, CPV Portraits

Coaches for the Upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter are set. UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis will serve as coach along with Gilbert Melendez, who recently signed with the UFC after exploring the option of fighting for rival promotion Bellator MMA.

The cast will feature women competing for the promotion’s strawweight world title. This will be the first time in show history that the entire cast will be all women. Amongst the cast members is Paige VanZant. Recently, Paige took part in a chat with to discuss her role on TUF, thoughts on uniforms, favorite fighters and more.

How did you feel when you got the call and ultimately the confirmation that you would be in the UFC?

Paige VanZant

I fell to my knees when Dana called me. For the first few minutes I didn't believe that it was even him on the phone. Once I knew that it was him I couldn't breathe and I was speechless. I knew that I would one day make it into the UFC. I just didn't see it coming so soon. I figured any where from two to four more wins under my belt then I would be pulled up. I am just honored that I get to say I am a signed UFC athlete.

You enter TUF as the youngest female to compete and some might say you are the least experienced, how do you handle that type of criticism or title as an underdog?

Paige VanZant

In MMA I have always been the underdog and it honestly doesn't phase me at all. People will look down on you for numerous reasons and mine is that I am not as experienced as a lot of the athletes in my devision. Which it is true, I am newer then most to this sport, but as long as I keep fighting for God and myself I know that I will be successful. I have gone through a lot in my life and it would take an earthquake to shake me.

You have not been doing this very long at what point did you decide to compete as a Mixed Martial Artist?

Paige VanZant

I went into MMA to try something new with my dad. He was a wrestler growing up and when I moved to a new town they didn't have any dance studios that I really connected with.

I was a dancer for 13 years prior to fighting, and I still do some professional shows when I have the chance. I instantly fell in love with the sport. I have always been very competitive and MMA was a perfect fit for me. I had won my first and only amateur fight right after I turned 18.

A few months later I got a call from someone asking if I wanted to take a pro fight. I knew they were bringing me into lose, but I said heck, I'm already fighting, I might as well get paid to do it win or lose. I won, and suddenly my passion transformed into my career.

Think about those your age and what they are doing currently…how do you maintain your focus on fighting while still enjoying your youth?

Paige VanZant

This is a simple answer. I train. When I go to the gym I am doing what I love to do and that's what youth is about. My gym becomes my friends and family. I train, work, eat and sleep, I could not be happier.

What is your favorite meal?

Paige VanZant

Even though I compete in one of the smaller weight classes I have a huge appetite. I love to cook and even more I love to eat. For me nothing is better then a big burger and fries. But if that's not on the menu I also love burritos, pizza and going to get some delicious Thai food with my best friend Alexa Giossi.

Do you have a special smoothie recipe to share?

Paige VanZant

My favorite protein smoothie my team mate actually showed me. It's super simple and very tasty. Just blend a banana, protein powder, leafy greens, a little cinnamon stick, some flax seed and almond milk. That's it.

Rumors are circulating regarding the UFC implementing uniforms......Felice Herrig is opposed to the idea because she feels it will get in the way of growing her "brand".

How do you feel about a uniform policy?

Paige VanZant

Growing my "brand" is what I'll do inside the cage and by how I interact with fans. I love to interact with my fans, so please follow me on my social media sites.

My only focus is training as hard as I possibly can and to be prepared whenever I step inside the UFC Cage for the first time, so that I am able to repay those that have afforded me this opportunity.

Finally, who is on your MMA Mt. Rushmore (Your top 4 Mixed Martial Artist)?

Paige VanZant

My top MMA fighters are Urijah Faber first of all because he is my coach, teammate and an amazing person. Next would be Ronda. Without her I honestly don't think that WMMA would be where it is today. And that means I may not have been picked up by the UFC this soon. The women's division would not be as developed as it is without her. And the last two are Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen. Chael reminds me of my dad and he's just a funny guy.

Thank you for checking in and good luck with TUF!

Paige VanZant

Thank you, and I want to thank God because without him nothing in my career or life would be possible. I want to thank my family, sponsors, my agent Jarrod and everyone else at One Dream Zero Distraction.

Fans can check in and interact with Paige VanZant via her multiple social media platforms listed here:

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