Paige VanZant’s fighting career is on hold while she deals with a re-fractured arm, but the UFC star still is in the spotlight.
VanZant, a UFC women’s flyweight fighter, will be the second fighter in UFC history to appear in Sports Illustrated’s annual Swimsuit Issue. Former women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, now a WWE wrestler, was part of the issue in 2016.
Sports Illustrated announced the news in an Instagram video post with VanZant in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where her photo shoot is taking place.
“I feel like when you’re in Sports Illustrated, that means you make it,” VanZant said in the video. “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.”
TheSwimsuit Issue is the latest success story for VanZant outside of fighting. In 2017, she appeared on “Dancing with the Stars” and was the show’s runner-up. Later that year, she appeared on a celebrity edition of “Chopped” on The Food Network. She also wrote a book that was released 11 months ago detailing her rise to stardom and being bullied in her youth.
VanZant (8-4 MMA, 5-3 UFC), who is 24 and one of the UFC’s most well-known fighters, recently announced a right arm fracture for the third time in her career. She already has had two surgeries, and a third injury took her out of a planned fight against Montana De La Rosa at UFC 236 next month in Atlanta.
VanZant figures she’ll be out of action for four to six weeks because of the injury.
For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.