Paige Michelle VanZant was born in Dundee, Oregon (USA) on March 26, 1994 and raised in Dayton Oregon. She was nicknamed “12 Gauge” by her father, due to both her MMA fighting style and her love for shooting and hunting.
Paige made her professional MMA debut on June 30, 2012, at UWF’s Tournament of Warriors’ main event in the final match against Jordan Nicole Gaza (in Corpus Christi, Texas) winning by split decision.
The versatile VanZant has achieved a great deal in many arenas of life; in 2018 she authored the book, “Rise: Surviving the Fight of My Life” and in 2016, was a finalist on the show “Dancing with the Stars”. Dancing has helped her develop a high level of flexibility and her agility and ease of movement is very evident in her fights.
As a mixed martial artist, she is recognized as a powerful force that never quits. Holding a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, she trained with Team Alpha Male from 2013-2017 before transitioning to the flyweight division of the UFC in 2017.
For her second pro fight, she left to train in Las Vegas. By now, her conditioning was more advanced than ever and she felt very confident about emerging the victor of her next bout.
She fought at the Premiere Fight Series 2 against Amber “The Apex Predator” Stautzenberger. As Amber was tall with strong limbs, it made sense for Paige to keep her body in as close to her as possible. At one moment Amber was on top of her, but being close to the cage enabled Paige to generate enough leverage to wiggle out from under her – much to the amazement of the crowd.
In her book, “Rise: Surviving the Fight of My Life”, she revealed being sexually manhandled by a group of her classmates on a Halloween night when she was only 14 years-old. She said it was “A pain that I keep locked deep inside, and that for all these years has been consciously untold, even to my family”.
Paige VanZant was first signed in the strawweight division of the UFC, her debut of which saw her defeat Kailin Curran on November 23rd, 2014 via TKO inside the octagon.
In August 2020, Paige VanZant signed a deal with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship – an American boxing promotion based in Philadelphia, making the statement that bare-knuckle fighting is only for the “toughest of the tough.”
Paige VanZant is another fighter (like Vitor Belfort) that has trained with Dr. Pedro Diaz (see video below). Dr. Diaz has a PhD. in Pedagogical Sciences with a specialization in boxing.
Now you have the backstory, let’s witness the wicked power of “12 Gauge” and her ‘never-say-die’ attitude in Paige VanZant: Top 5 MMA Finishes! (in descending order)
- Vs. Jordan Gaza – UWF 4 (June 30, 2012)
- Vs Courtney Himes – Cage Warriors 15 (April 6, 2013)
- Vs. Rachael Ostovich – UFC Fight Night 143 (Jan.19, 2019)
- Vs. Alex Chambers – UFC 191 (Sept. 5, 2015)
- Vs. Bec Rawlings – UFC on Fox 21 (Aug. 27, 2016)
Paige VanZant made her professional MMA debut against Jordan Nicole Gaza, the “Ninja Princess” in Corpus Christi, Texas. This was the main card of UWF 4: Tournament of Warriors.
As the match started, both fighters lost no time at all in exchanging blows and grappling each other to the edge of the ring.
At 24 seconds into round one, Paige viciously attacked the thighs of her opponent. Shortly after, Jordan Gaza went for a takedown but couldn’t penetrate Paige’s defense who tightly gripped Gaza’s neck to shut down all her attack options. At 4 minutes 35 seconds, Paige mounted Gaza and threw a flurry of punches to her head and nose.
At 3 minutes 35 seconds into round three, Gaza wrapped herself around the back of Paige and executed a choke with the help of her forearms and biceps, putting immense pressure on VanZant’s windpipe and neck arteries. Paige handled the pressure superbly, refusing to tap out managing to end up standing tall as the bell rung. Paige VanZant won the match via a split decision.
The match took place at Colorado Mesa University, USA. Paige was pumped up from the start here and went for a kick and right-hand jab at the very start of round one, causing Hims to lose control for a moment.
At 27 seconds, Paige went for the mount whilst hurling a flurry of jabs upon Himes. They both then grappled for the next minute with Paige overpowering her opponent with sheer force of strength.
At 2 minutes in, with Himes caught in the takedown, Paige again exacted punches and jabs on her opponent, applying a choke and ultimately causing her to tap at 2 minutes, 21 seconds of round one.
The bout took place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Within 9 seconds of the first round Paige went gunning for a right and left hook followed by a high kick to Ostovich’s right eye. Rachael Ostovich and Paige then grappled with each other each attempting to get the upper hand.
At 1 minute 54 seconds Rachael jabbed and quickly went for another takedown. Paige controlled her breathing and kept rolling her body to distract her opponent. With 30 seconds to go in the first round, Paige reversed the mount and went for an ankle lock but Rachael was able to pull out.
At a minute into round two, Paige went for back control unleashing left and right hooks to the back of Rachael’s head executing an armbar shortly thereafter causing Rachael to tap out. This match was tagged 11th Best Submission of the Year 2019.
It was the first match of the night held at the MGM Grand Las Vegas which featured “12 Gauge” locking horns with the Australian Alex Chambers.
Paige VanZant looked dominant from the first round and it appeared she had already made a deep impact on her opponent’s mind with her fast moves and sharp technique.
At 4 minutes 55 seconds into round two, she got her opponent to the edge of the ring and throwing quick jabs as Alex lay helplessly on the ground. As round two ended, Chambers’ face showed signs of discouragement as she walked off to her corner.
At 8 seconds into round 3, Paige clenched her Chambers’ head and swung her towards the sidelines almost like a gunny sack landing right and left-hand hooks and knees square to her head and stomach.
Paige went for the takedown accompanied by a flurry of punches following up with an arm bar on Chambers who tapped as her body trembled under the pressure applied by Paige. This match stands as the no.62 Best MMA Submission of the Year 2016 and the no.45 Greatest Strawweight MMA Fight of All Time.
After tapping out to a rear-naked choke imposed by Rose Namajunas in her last match 8 months prior, Paige VanZant was back in action against the Australian, “Rowdy” Rebecca Bec Rawlings.
Paige went in for a high kick in the first 3 seconds of the bout as though instantly putting her opponent on notice that the blood she spilled in her last fight is percolating in the back of her mind. She is going to be aggressive.
In the first minute of round one, Paige continuously changed her position inside the Octagon whilst keeping a stern eye on her opponent. Paige goes again for a high kick on Rawlings chest, to which she retaliates with a left and right hook to the face and a jab to her stomach.
At 3 minutes 55 seconds Paige aims for a high knee to get her into a clinch, but again Bec quickly counters the engagement.
In the second round, Paige started with full enthusiasm and a flying kick in Bec’s direction but again, causing no damage – it seemed she had been on the hunt down of her opponent for the entire bout.
Then came her moment – at 12 seconds into round two, she stuns Bec with a flying kick, vigorously following up with ground and pound. The referee intervened which declared Paige victorious via TKO. This match was ranked the no.19 Best MMA Knockout of the Year 2016 and the no.48 Greatest Strawweight Fight of All Time. This match also won the Performance of the Night.