According to an Apr. 20 report from TMZ Sports, Paige VanZant was the talk of the MMA world after her impressive victory over Felice Herrig in front of a national audience for UFC on FOX 15. With the win, the 21-year-old VanZant earned comparisons to UFC superstars Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor.
VanZant, a standout strawweight, is now 2-0 in the UFC. UFC President Dana White was singing her praises after her win over Herrig. He said just about everyone who was backstage at UFC on FOX 15 wanted to meet VanZant following the event.
White knows he has a star in the making. Let’s be honest: The sky is the limit for VanZant. She’s already close to becoming a household name, and she’s just 21 years old. Just how popular will she get? Time will tell the answer to that question, but there’s absolutely no doubt she has a special “it” factor just like Rousey and McGregor.
For whatever reason, fight fans gravitate toward VanZant, just like they do to Rousey and McGregor. What is the reason for it? First of all, she has the fighting skills to back up her good looks. In her two performances under the UFC banner, she proved she is a legitimate fighter who is more than just a pretty face.
It also helps that she’s excellent on the mic, and has an adorable personality. Here’s the thing: She doesn’t look like a fighter. VanZant looks more like a cheerleader than a fighter, so her look appeals to casual fans of the sport. Female fans love her because they identify with her, and male fans love her because she is a solid fighter who is charming on the mic.
Make no mistake: She comes across as more likeable than Rousey, the current UFC bantamweight champ. Rousey, 28, has embraced a heel persona in the past, as crowds have booed her villainous tactics. For instance, Rousey was widely booed after she snubbed Miesha Tate for a handshake following their UFC fight.
VanZant hasn’t yet been booed. Crowds across the globe seem to adore her, and her stock continues to rise. VanZant is still a long way away from being as popular as Rousey, as the star judoka has close to a million Twitter followers and a slew of movie deals in the works. She’s a crossover star in the non-sports landscape.
VanZant isn’t quite there yet, but she’s just 21 years old and only continues to improve. The more she fights, the more well-known she’ll get. If VanZant keeps winning, there’s a distinct possibility she’ll reach the level of stardom that Rousey is at.