Paige VanZant, a UFC strawweight, will be trading her fighting gear for a dress and dancing shoes as she joins the cast of Dancing with the Stars for Season 22.
VanZant, 21, joins other celebrities and sports stars, including Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, Fuller House star Jodie Sweetin and Super Bowl champion Von Miller, lined up to compete for the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy.
According to Fox Sports, VanZant is the first UFC fighter to join the series as an active competitor. UFC Hall of Famers Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture appeared on the show, but didn’t compete.
Paige VanZant wants to win "Dancing with the Stars" and then fight at UFC 200 https://t.co/gxIaGEN3Tt #UFC #DWTS22 pic.twitter.com/oAZ2wao6eb
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) March 10, 2016
It seems as if VanZant will be a natural on the show, considering she danced competitively throughout her childhood before she became a star for mixed martial arts fighting.
“I hope so,” VanZant said in a telephone interview from New York. “I hope I’m able to channel some of that and do well.”
VanZant is ranked seventh in the women’s 115-pound division and made her promotional debut in November 2014.
Sacramento MMA fighter @PaigeVanzantUFC talks to The Bee about ‘Dancing with the Stars’ https://t.co/eHRWFEUUqj pic.twitter.com/jyEU8Ie7D1
— The Sacramento Bee (@sacbee_news) March 8, 2016
The next few months will be busy ones for VanZant. She is expected to continue training for her return to the Octagon later this year while competing on the show.
VanZant says she is targeting UFC 200 for her next fight but she’ll look to knock out a Dancing with the Stars championship first.
Season 22 premiers March 21 on ABC.