UFC star Paige VanZant credits past as a dancer for her poise

Paige VanZant has had to deal with bright lights and sudden fame as a UFC strawweight contender. She’s appeared to deal with it well, however, and she says her past as a competitive dancer is a big reason why.

"I would have to give a lot of thanks to my dance teachers," she told reporters backstage in Houston at UFC 192.

"[My dance teachers] taught me how to compose myself. They taught me how to be in a professional setting. And, definitely my parents."

Life as a dancer required poise and no small amount of athleticism for VanZant, both of which come in handy as a MMA fighter. "They definitely make you have a sense of professionalism," she continued.

"I don’t think people really understand how much of an athlete you have to be to do dance. I was in it competitively and did a little bit of professional dance, so I’d have to give them thanks."

Now, "12 Gauge" isn’t daunted by the stage she currently finds herself on. In fact, she relishes it.

"I love every second of it, and I’ve always known from a young age I was meant for the spotlight," the 21-year-old went on.

"I didn’t know what platform that would be, and it just happened to be MMA."