Many fighters have a unique backstory about their life pre-competition. In the case of UFC strawweight Vanessa Demopoulos, it’s leaving her job as an exotic entertainer to put her 100% focus on fighting.
What makes this story noteworthy, however, is that the career shift just happened a little over a month ago. The 33-year-old former LFA champion and Dana White Contender Series alum talked about it during her UFC 270 post-fight scrum.
“I don’t think it’s a secret, I was an exotic entertainer for 13 years,” Demopoulos told the media. “And I didn’t actually say it on the mic, but I’d like to say it right now: I walked away from being a stripper to continue this camp.
“I quit dancing about six to eight weeks ago just so I could focus full-time on MMA, take this extremely seriously in the gym every single day.”
Demopoulos, who is on a minimum $12K/12K contract, won her UFC 270 prelim fight against Silvana Gómez Juárez via armbar from the back after getting knocked down by a right hand. She credited that win to her background as a pole dancer and what she referred to as her “stripper guard.”
“A lot of my jiu-jitsu actually comes from my expertise as a pole dancer,” she said.
With the win, Demopoulos now improves to a record of 6-4.