From Ballet To MMA

Paige VanZant may have grown up taking ballet and jazz classes at her parents’ dance studio, but today she is one of the top UFC fighters in her division. Moving away from pointed toes and pirouettes to jabs and take downs, Paige began her fighting training in 2009, when her father, a former wrestler, asked her to attend a class with him. She entered her first amateur fight at 18, where it took her just 50 seconds to snag a win. From there she moved on up to the pros.

paige vanzant

Image Via Muscle&Fitness

Paige made her professional debut in June 2012, and her early fights were marked by success. Her style is aggressive—fighting to win and utilizing her entire body in the ring. Ranked 10th in her division, she is clearly doing something right, and her impressive physique certainly speaks for itself.

Getting Her Sweat On

Alongside her MMA training, Paige likes to use CrossFit-style workouts to get endurance work and strength training in. Leading up to a fight, her sweat sessions will include CrossFit, conditioning with a personal trainer, as well as sparring and technique workouts, and good old-fashioned cardio using a treadmill or jump rope. When it’s time to cut weight, Paige ups her time spent on cardio and sweats it out in the sauna—shedding up to 17 pounds per week!

As Seen On TV

Even as the fourth youngest female fighter in the UFC, the 23-year-old has been ranked a “ninth degree badass,” and boosts a record of two wins by submission, one by knockout and three by decision. The 115-pound fighter has won five of her last seven fights.

Outside of the MMA, her prior background also includes cheerleading and modeling, which undoubtedly helped her in her impressive run on Dancing with the Stars, where she finished in second place. And her detour onto the dance floor didn’t distracted her from her goals, as she aspires to be like Rhonda Rousey and hopes to follow in her footsteps.

Workout Like Paige

Try this challenging MMA-inspired, CrossFit-style workout to channel your inner fighter! (via


Fight Gone Bad is three rounds of the following exercises for 1-minute each: 

Wall Ball Shot

Using a 20-pound ball, squat low and explode upward, throwing the ball up at a target 10 feet high on a wall. Catch the ball and repeat.

Sumo Deadlift High Pull

In a sumo stance, grab a 75-pound barbell with an overhand grip and perform a deadlift. From there, explosively pull the bar up to your chin.

Box Jump

Jump onto a 20-inch box. The rep is complete when the hips are completely extended.

Push Press

Bend and extend your knees to press a 75-pound barbell overhead to full lockout.



You can also substitute the row for the jump rope to get a great classic boxing-style cardio burst.

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