UFC flyweight contender Paige VanZant recently partook in a photoshoot for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.
Speaking to FanSided, VanZant admitted this is the kind of opportunity she previously might have turned down in an effort to seem less girly and more like a professional fighter. But she says those days are over.
“I’ve been pushing these opportunities to the side,” she said. “I can only hide so much of my girliness. I’ve been turning down opportunities because I do want people to see me as a professional fighter. I’m done with that. I’m going to 100 percent be myself. There is this new era of being strong and beautiful. The die-hard fight fans can complain that I’m doing things like Sports Illustrated but it’s who I am and I absolutely loved it.”
As Paige VanZant implies, some fans have been critical of her for taking opportunities like this Sports Illustrated photoshoot. But the flyweight star isn’t letting those “morons” get her down.
“[Those] fans are morons,” VanZant said. “The problem with fights fans is they are quick to forget. They focus on who won the most recent fight… and they are quick to jump ship.
“There is not a lot of loyalty,” she continued. “The true fans support me any endeavor and they like me as a person… I don’t think there should be any question about my fight career at this point. I’ve broken my arm twice. Maybe I don’t look like a professional fighter but, hey, I was born this way. Call my mom and dad.”
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 4/4/2019.