Paige VanZant to be featured in the 2019 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue

UFC women’s flyweight contender Paige VanZant is going from the Octagon to the beach as the latest athlete set to be featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition due out later this year.

Sports Illustrated announced the news on Thursday along with a video featuring VanZant from her photoshoot.

VanZant had teased a big announcement coming earlier this week after flying down to Mexico before returning home to deal with a fractured arm that is expected to keep her sidelined for approximately four weeks.

The former strawweight contender who now competes at 125 pounds is coming off a submission win over Rachael Ostovich in her most recent fight.

Now VanZant joins former UFC women’s champion Ronda Rousey as the only fighters from the organization to be featured in the famed swimsuit issue from Sports Illustrated.

“I feel like when you’re in Sports Illustrated, that’s when you make it,” VanZant said. “It’s a really big deal.

“I’m mostly excited for people to see this side of me. I think people forget that yes I’m a professional fighter, my hair is corn-rowed all the time, I punch people in the face for a living but you can look really cute, too.”

VanZant has been a high profile star for the UFC ever since she first arrived in the promotion.

She gained national exposure when she made it to the finals of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and also released her autobiography last year.