UFC's Paige VanZant joins latest 'Dancing with the Stars' cast

Ryan McKinnell
·Ryan McKinnell

UFC strawweight Paige VanZant may have suffered her first career UFC loss last December, but it seemingly hasn’t hurt her popularity all that much.

Paige VanZant
Paige VanZant

VanZant, 21, will be a contestant on the upcoming season of the ABC hit show “Dancing with the Stars.” The UFC starlet will join the 22nd season alongside fellow active athletes Von Miller of the Denver Broncos and Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

VanZant will be just the third UFC fighter to ever compete on “Dancing with the Stars.” To her credit, however, Van Zant will be the first active fighter to appear on the show as UFC Hall of Famers Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture competed after retiring from the sport.

Before becoming a professional fighter, VanZant was a dancer. Her parents owned a dance studio in her home state of Oregon, and the self-professed "tomboy" spent her entire childhood immersed in dance (ballet, cheerleading, jazz). So, assuming she hasn’t lost a step – and judging from this video, she hasn’t – VanZant could very well be an early candidate to take home the DWTS title.

Making her chances of victory even more likely: Van Zant is being paired with two-time “Dancing with the Stars” winner Mark Ballas.

Van Zant has publicly stated her intentions of fighting at the upcoming UFC 200 this July in Las Vegas, but before she does, a date with America’s favorite dance floor will be her next challenge.

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Ryan McKinnell is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports Cagewriter blog. Have a tip? Email him or