As we approach the pivotal clash, here are five things that you
might not know about the 24-year-old known as “12 Gauge”:
She likes dancing.
VanZant spent her formative years in Oregon, where her parents ran
a dance studio. Under their influence, the future fighter blossomed
into an enthusiastic and talented dancer. In 2016, she was a
participant on Season 22 of “Dancing with the Stars.” VanZant and
her dance partner’s impressive performances saw them make it all
the way to the final. In 2009, the then-teenage VanZant and her
family left Oregon and moved to Sparks, Nevada. She was on the
lookout for a dance school when she came across Ken Shamrock’s
Lion’s Den gym. It was there that she began her mixed martial arts
journey. The flexibility, agility and balance that she honed during
her years of dancing would prove beneficial in her chosen career
She was given her nickname by her father.
Growing up, VanZant was regarded as something of a tomboy due to
her love of the outdoors. Dirt bikes, hunting and fishing were all
activities that appealed to the athletic youngster. It was her
father who first gave her the moniker, “12-gauge.” He chose it
because of her fondness for shooting and the name wound up
She is married to an MMA fighter.
VanZant wed her spouse Austin
Vanderford in September of last year. The newlyweds reside in
Oregon and train at Gracie Barra Portland. Vanderford is an
unbeaten 6-0 welterweight prospect and former collegiate wrestling
star. The sporty pair often post photographs of themselves training
on social media. Like his other half, Vanderford’s moniker is a
gun, as he goes by “AK-47.”
She has worked as a model.
VanZant has previously been employed as a model for a number of
popular athletic clothing brands, most notably Columbia Sportswear
and Nike. Although the vivacious blonde MMA combatant has put the
modelling aside for the time being, VanZant remains in demand. Her
good looks and youthful effervescence have resulted in her being
one of the more marketable athletes on the UFC’s roster. According
to her manager, she’s always being sought for interviews. Her
popularity is evident from her considerable social media presence,
where she has 1.9 million followers on Instagram.
She has released a book.
In April of last year, VanZant released her biography, Rise:
Surviving the Fight of My Life. The book reveals details of her
time on “Dancing with the Stars,” her ascent up the MMA ladder, and
the personal struggles that she faced during her youth. While in
high school, she was subjected to persistent bullying and sexual
assault, the effects of which she overcame by devoting herself to
the gym. The biography has been well-received and currently boasts
an impressive 4.26/5 rating on the popular literature site
Goodreads. One standout quote from the book reads, “I inhale the
power. I exhale the bullsh*t. One strike at a time.”