NEW YORK – UFC fighter Paige “12 Gauge” VanZant is a former model and dancer turned professional mixed martial artist competing in the league's straw weight division. She talked to FOX411 about how her looks can literally kill, and why she traded the dance world for the Octagon.
FOX411: Why did you decide to leaving dancing and modeling to join the UFC?
Paige VanZant: You know I got burnt out honestly. I was dancing 21 hours a week when I was really little, like, 13. Dance was a huge part of my life and I got burnt out, and I needed something else to transition to, and apparently I had a lot of burnt up anger. And I can get that out now.
FOX411: What are you so angry about?
VanZant: Everyday things. Everyone has their little angers. I don’t go into a fight mad. I go into a fight like it’s my birthday. I love what I’m doing. I guess I love punching people in the face. I get a thrill out of it.
FOX411: Do you feel your attractive looks help or hurt you in the ring? Are you underestimated?
VanZant: I see it as an advantage. I do get underestimated and I do think that’s an advantage when I go into the cage the girls go, “Oh, she’s just a pretty face, and then I get to show them my background and where I came from and everything, and I let my anger out, and I show them I’m much more than a pretty face.
FOX411: Are you nervous about breaking your nose, jaw, teeth -- any part of your face?
VanZant: You don’t think about that going into the fight. Pretty much you just think about using everything that your coaches have taught you, using every tool in your tool box to go out there and win the fight.
FOX411: What’s the worst injury you’ve had so far?
VanZant: Actually, I got hurt more cheerleading than I ever have fighting. I broke my tailbone doing a backflip. That was definitely the worse injury.
FOX411: Are guys afraid to ask you out?
VanZant: It’s hard for me to go out there and meet guys. I’m at the gym every single day, and that’s pretty much the only time I’m around guys so I do get that men are intimidated but it’s not really something I’m looking for right now.
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