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UFC: Paige VanZant talks body image and making the most of her media obligations

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Iain Kidd sat down with UFC women's strawweight star, Paige VanZant ahead of her fight with Rose Namajunas to discuss body image and making her many media obligations work to her advantage.

George Lockhart and Paige VanZant ahead of UFC Fight Night 80
George Lockhart and Paige VanZant ahead of UFC Fight Night 80
Iain Kidd

Three Amigos co-host Iain Kidd is in Las Vegas with George Lockhart and the Fitness VT team to help with weight cuts and reloads, as well as document the team's work with several fighters for UFC Fight Week. During the course of his work, he's been grabbing quick interviews here and there with some of these fighters for Bloody Elbow readers. This is a short conversation he had with women's strawweight star, Paige VanZant about body image and media obligations.

Bloody Elbow: There are girls who might look at you jumping on the scales at the weigh-ins and think, "Oh, I can look like that," but you put yourself through hell to get to that point, and you can't maintain that.

Paige VanZant: Yeah, I don't think people understand just how difficult the weight cut actually is and how unrealistic our body looks at that point in time. We only weight that much for a few hours and I think people should know that.

I don't like how I look at that weight. I only do it to make weight and get ready from the fight. I think I look better when I'm a significant number of pounds heavier.

I don't think people understand just how difficult the weight cut actually is and how unrealistic our body looks at that point in time. -Paige VanZant

Bloody Elbow: You've done dancing and gymnastics when you were younger, which is arguably the best possible exercise for getting in shape and building functional muscle. For girls who do want to get in shape, is that what you would recommend? A good exercise program?

Paige VanZant: Definitely. For girls that want to get in shape, I recommend just getting into a class. That really helped for me. I'm not one that will go to 24 Hour Fitness and motivate myself to workout, and it's especially hard for people who don't know what they're doing.

If you take a dance class, it's great exercise and it's really fun. Just find something you find fun, like take a kickboxing class. It's great exercise, you'll slowly lose a lot of weight and you'll have a lot of fun while you do it.

Bloody Elbow: I know you have a ton of media obligations, especially on fight week, and you have more than almost anyone else this week. What's it like trying to deal with that?

Paige VanZant: For me, the media isn't a problem, especially throughout the day and leading up to the fight. I got here on Sunday and I don't fight until Thursday, so you have to fill those days for something. You can't work out 24/7, so for me, it actually works. I like doing the media part of it, getting my brand out there and sharing who I am with people, and the only way I am able to do that is through media outlets.

Bloody Elbow: Usually fighters at your point in their career don't have nearly the pressure you do. Do you feel that pressure?

Paige VanZant: No, this is the easy part for me. I don't feel any pressure on social media or anything like that, just because I'm not putting on a show. I'm not trying to put something out there that's not who I am, or be animated or anything like that. I'm 100% true to who I am, and I like to share my story. For me, I don't feel a lot of pressure from the media.

Paige faces Rose Namajunas tonight on the UFC Fight Night: Namajunas vs. VanZant card from Las Vegas and available on Fight Pass. As always, keep your browser locked on Bloody Elbow for up-to-the-minute fight coverage.