In May of 2017, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) announced that they would be introducing a women’s flyweight (125 pounds) division. The news prompted many established stars in other weight classes to change course in an attempt to capture the newly established title. Two of the biggest names in women’s MMA, Valentina Shevchenko and Paige VanZant announced they would be competing in the newly established weight class going forward. Besides both being major stars, VanZant and Shevchenko are also widely considered to be among the most beautiful athletes in the sport.
“12 Gauge” Paige VanZant is a fighter who originally hails from Dundee, Oregon. The dancer-turned-mixed martial artist currently holds a record of 7-4 as a pro. The 23-year-old’s marketable appearance and bubbly personality have landed her on the cover of several popular magazines and television shows. The 5-foot-4 blonde is frequently listed among the hottest fighters in the UFC.
“Bullet” Valentina Shevchenko fights out of Frunze, Kirghiz SSR, Soviet Union (now known as Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan). She a former bantamweight title challenger whose professional record currently stands at 14-3. The 29-year-old blonde’s shredded physique has helped her earn a reputation as one of the premier beauties in the sport today.
Now for the hard part. It’s time to take a look at 16 stunning photos and decide which of these two breathtaking women is the hottest flyweight in the world.
16 Paige: Who Wears Short Shorts?
If one didn’t know any better, one might reasonably assume the Paige VanZant was a fashion model as opposed to a cage fighter, after seeing this lovely photo. The image features the young flyweight standout modeling a pair of short shorts while smiling into the camera. One would be hard-pressed to find a fighter with a nicer set of teeth than Paige VanZant. Getting hit in the face clearly hasn’t ruined the 23-year-old’s undeniable good looks.
Fun Fact: VanZant first discovered MMA when her family moved to Sparks, Nevada. She was actually looking for a dance studio when she came across a gym run by UFC legend Ken Shamrock. It was at this gym that she began training in mixed martial arts for the very first time.
15 Valentina: Yoga Pants
After seeing these photos, it is abundantly clear that Valentina Shevchenko spends a great deal of time in gyms like the one shown here. It is also fair to say that her time spent working out has resulted in an amazing figure, which is being highlighted by the yoga pants she’s sporting in this image. While some girls like to wear workout gear for comfort, this MMA star wears them for what they were intended for, and looks great while doing so.
Fun Fact: Shevchenko suffered her first professional loss at C3 Fights: Red River Rivalry when she was defeated by Liz Carmouche. The TKO (doctor stoppage) was controversial, as the upkick used by Carmouche to inflict the damage was illegal, though no foul was called by the referee.
14 Paige: Laces
While the gorgeous blonde brawler appears to have forgotten her pants in this particular photo, at least she remembered to tie her shoes. The 23-year-old shows off the physique that helped make her one of the most popular fighters in the world, in a photo that can only be described as jaw-dropping. The Oregon native makes a strong case for being MMA’s most breathtaking female with this impressive image.
Fun Fact: By now, most fans know that Paige VanZant is something of a television star outside of the UFC. However, many may not realize that her first TV appearance came as a child when she was featured in an ad for Bissell. Bissell is a company that sells floor care products. In her on-air debut, VanZant can be seen using a steam mop deluxe in a cheesy television ad.
13 Valentina: Splits
Besides looking nothing short of amazing in this photo, Valentina Shevchenko also showcases some impressive flexibility. Years of Muay Thai training have clearly left the 29-year-old with an impressive physique and the ability to pull off amazing athletic feats like the split she is doing here. While her ability to stretch helps make for a steamy photo, it also allows her to throw some devastating head kicks. Don’t let her good looks fool you, Shevchenko is all business inside the octagon.
Fun Fact: Valentina Shevchenko has been involved in Taekwondo since the age of 5. At just 12-years of age, she branched out into Muay Thai Kickboxing as well as freestyle Vale Tudo. While many female UFC fighters have only recently entered the world of martial arts, Shevchenko has been training since she was a child.
12 Paige: Rocking Those Jeans
Even the most casual Paige VanZant fan knowns the blonde stunner isn’t shy about taking part in a risque photoshoot from time to time. In this photo we see the Oregon native posing with her jeans unbuttoned in a red bra while staring somewhat seductively into the camera. After seeing the selection of photos in this article, its fair to say that the 23-year-old could have easily had a very successful career as a model had she decided to go that route. She has already modeled from brands like Columbia Sportswear and Nike.
Fun Fact: In 2017 Paige VanZant was a contestant on the Food Network TV series, Chopped. She moved on the grand finale after out cooking the likes of figure skater Dorothy Hamill and NFL player LaMarr Woodley.
11 Valentina: Window Service
Valentina Shevchenko shows off her natural beauty in a photo that almost looks like it came straight out of fashion catalog. This image shows us that the former title contender doesn’t need to be wearing a bikini or skin-tight workout attire in order to turn heads. The 5-foot-5 blonde shows of her impressive sense of style in a photo that is certainly among her best. Shevchenko demonsrates that she can model with the best of them in this image.
Fun Fact: Valentina Shevchenko’s first kickboxing bout took place when she was just 12 years of age. The then 12-year-old took on a 22-year-old opponent in her home country of Kyrgyzstan. She ended up knocking out her much older opponent in a bout that probably wouldn’t be sanctioned in too many places these days.
10 Paige: Jump Kick
In this photo we see the spunky blonde throwing an impressive jump kick in her Reebok workout gear. This pic helps to showcase flyweight superstar’s muscular frame while also supporting one of her sponsors, apparel company Reebok. In fact, the company gave her a sponsorship deal (in addition to the standard Reebok deal every UFC fighter gets) after only one bout in the octagon. After seeing her modeling this gear, it’s easy to understand why she received the deal.
Fun Fact: VanZant has previously dated former UFC Bantamweight Champion Cody Garbrandt. The two met while they trained to together as members of Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California. These days she is dating another fighter by the name of Austin Vanderford. Vanderford is currently undefeated with a 4-0 record.
9 Valentina: Sisters
In this photo we see Valentina Shevchenko posing in a bikini next to her sister, Antonia Shevchenko. Both Valentina and Antonia show off their impressive bikini bods while modeling on a rock in front of the ocean. These are a couple of ladies who clearly spend a great deal of time in the gym, which has helped to give them both figures that most swimsuits models would envy. The sisters look flawless in this outstanding photograph.
Fun Fact: At 33 years of age, Antonia is eldest of the two Shevchenko sisters. Like her sister, Antonia Shevchenko is also an outstanding Muay Thai fighter. In fact, she was the 2017 WMC Muay Thai Female Super Lightweight World Champion. The elder Schevchenko also competes in mixed martial arts and currently has an undefeated 3-0 record.
8 Paige: Lean Back
This image shows Paige VanZant posing in her doorway in some black lingerie. The caption below this seductive photo reads, “Yeah I got issues, and one of them is how bad I need you.” For those who don’t recognize the quote, it’s from Grammy award-winning singer Julia Michaels' song, “Issues.” Apparently, the image (and possibly the quote to a lesser extent) resonated with her followers, as the stunning post received 104,000 likes on Instagram.
Fun Fact: Paige VanZant has previously fought in the all-female promotion Invicta Fighting Championship. Her one and only bout for the promotion took place on January 5, 2013, against current strawweight contender Tecia Torres. The contest went all three rounds with Torres emerging the victor via unanimous decision. This would be VanZant’s second to last bout before entering the UFC.
7 Valentina: On The Ropes
This photo shows the Muay Thai specialist posing in front of a ring in tight-fitting, short skirt. According to the caption, this gorgeous photo was taken in Lima, Peru back in 2013. While the blonde bombshell was born in the former Soviet Union, she has actually spent a good portion of her life in Peru and considers herself to be a Kyrgyzstani-Peruvian. It’s fair to say that folks from both countries will appreciate this outstanding Instagram post which received 21,000 likes.
Fun Fact: Shevchenko made her debut against veteran Sarah Kaufman at UFC on Fox: Dos Anjos vs. Cerrone 2. Kaufman was originally scheduled to face Germaine de Randamie who ultimately pulled out due to injury. Shevchenko stepped in as a short notice replacement and defeated Kaufman via split decision.
6 Paige: She's Got Legs
This Instagram post shows the 5-foot-5 blonde staring out her window in a pair of short shorts and a black sports bra. This particular image helps to highlight the UFC headliner’s toned legs. VanZant has proven that she knows how to get followers on Instagram, and pics such as this are a big reason why. In fact, she currently has 1.7 million followers on the popular social media site. To put that in perspective, VanZant has more followers than all four current female UFC champions (Rose Namajunas, Amanda Nunes, Cris Cyborg, and Nicco Montano) combined.
Fun Fact: VanZant made her UFC debut on November 22, 2014, against Kailin Curran. Paige VanZant would end up getting her hand raised that night after winning the bout via TKO in the third round of the contest.
5 Valentina: Texas Cowgirl
Valentina Shevchenko decides to a go a little country with a cowboy hat and boots look. This photo shows the popular fighter in Texas, and she appears to have done a nice job blending in. Those who follow Schevchenko on social media know that she isn’t afraid to change her look from time to time. Not everyone can pull the cowboy (or cowgirl in this instance) look off, but as we can see here, the Muay Thai specialist is up to the task.
Fun Fact: Shevchenko has faced former UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk in Muay Thai competition on 3 separate occasions. Shevchenko won all three Muay Thai matchups, but the two had never competed in MMA, though Jedrzejczyk offered to fight her former Muay Thai rival (in MMA) when Amanda Nunes pulled out of a fight last July, but there wasn’t time for Jedrzejczyk be cleared by the commission.
4 Paige: Yoga Pants
Yoga pants have become quite the popular fashion piece these days. However, few women can rock a pair of yoga pants quite like this 23-year-old superstar. In this candid photo, VanZant appears to have caught a cameraperson taking a photo of her stylish athletic wear. The blonde bombshell still finds time to flash a quick smile while crossing the street. Even in a candid picture, where she doesn’t have the benefit of a stylist and makeup crew, VanZant still manages to look amazing.
Fun Fact: Paige VanZant is currently in the midst of atwo-fight losing streak. She lost her most recent bout (her 125-pound debut) against Australia’s Jessica-Rose Clark via unanimous decision. She also dropped the prior contest, losing to “The Karate Hottie” Michelle Waterson via submission.
3 Valentina: Hand Wraps
Valentina Shevchenko shows off her muscular frame in a pair of black short shorts and white sports bra. She looks phenomenal even when performing the simple act of putting on her hand wraps. The Russian-born fighter lends credence to the saying, “strong is the new sexy,” with this stunning photo. Shevchenko proves she can create great photos with seemingly minimal effort. Anyone who doesn’t think the flyweight contender is one of the hottest women in MMA clearly hasn’t seen this photo.
Fun Fact: One of Shevchenko’s biggest wins in the UFC came on July 23, 2016, in a bout with former champ Holly Holm. Despite coming into the fight as an underdog, the Muay Thai expert was able to defeat to Holm via unanimous decision, in what is arguably her biggest win to date.
2 Paige: Dancing With The Stars
This promotional photo shows Paige VanZant during her stint on the popular television show, Dancing with the Stars. The 5-foot-5 blonde looked every bit like an A-list celebrity during her time on the show with outfits such as this one. VanZant wore some truly breathtaking attire during her time on DWTS and the dress shown in this picture was certainly no exception.
Fun Fact: VanZant appeared on the 22nd season of Dancing with the Stars alongside her professional dance partner, Mark Ballas. The MMA star, who happened to have some dance experience her youth, had a great deal of success in the contest and even advanced to the final round. However, she would end up finishing in second place behind model and activist Nyle DiMarco and his partner, Peta Murgatroyd.
1 Valentina: In The Pool
This photo shows the title contender taking it easy on a raft in a swimming pool, while posing for a photo shoot. Folks who aren’t following Valentina Shevchenko on social media sites like Instagram, likely soon will be after seeing this photo. The flyweight beauty shines, once again, in a photo that could easily be on the cover a magazine. The blonde fighter proves that she is as beautiful as she is deadly with this unforgettable Instagram post.
Fun Fact: Both of Shevchenko’s losses in the UFC came against current Women’s Bantamweight Champion, Amanda Nunes. She lost her first fight against Nunes via unanimous decision, though she came on strong in the third round. She lost her re-match against Nunes (for the belt) in a somewhat controversial split decision at UFC 215.