Even in the largest promotions such as the UFC, fighters and even champions such as Stipe Miocic work full-time jobs.
However, not all non-fighting-related jobs are created equally.
While Miocic fights fires, Luke Rockhold and Alan Jouban have had modeling careers. And as great as that is for them to have made that happen, they’re not our primary focus today.
Instead, we look at some names from the female fight game who have also been successful models.
MIESHA ‘CUPCAKE’ TATE
Miesha Tate started her MMA career in 2007 and would go on to become of the most recognizable figures for the women of the sport before retiring in 2016.
Since hanging up her gloves, Tate has become a mother and is currently awaiting her second child. In regards to the sport that she made her name in, she works as a Vice President for the Singapore based ONE Championship.
In her rise to superstardom, Tate would claim the Strikeforce title and become heated rivals with Ronda Rousey. All of which culminated in her eventually obtaining UFC gold.
Along the way, “Cupcake” would find herself modeling for ESPN: The Magazine in their Body Issue as well as doing work with Fitness Gurls, Fight! Magazine, and various others.
’12 GAUGE’ PAIGE VANZANT
Paige VanZant entered the UFC with a 3-1 record aged just 21, quickly becoming a star. With a fan-friendly style and a likable personality, VanZant appeared destined for big things if she could just keep winning. And at the start, that’s just what she did as she racked up three straight wins in impressive fashion.
As everyone loses at some point, the still young VanZant was no exception as she came up short in her first main event spot opposite a future champion in Rose Namajunas. After this, VanZant would take some time away from MMA to star in a season of Dancing with the Stars, where she made it to the finals.
As far as modeling goes, last year VanZant appeared in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition. PVZ later revealed that she now makes more money modeling on Instagram than she does fighting.
Gina Carano is credited for being the first person to really push female fighters into the spotlight. And a part of her allure was the fact that you’d never be able to guess that she could fight so well if you didn’t know who she was.
Having only competed for three years professionally, Carano went 7-1, with her lone loss coming to Cris Cyborg in what was her final fight. Now successfully grabbing roles left and right in the acting world, Carano has also appeared in ESPN: The Magazine’s Body Issue as well as publications like Maxim and GQ.
‘THE KARATE HOTTIE’ MICHELLE WATERSON
For Michelle Waterson, she actually started out as a model first before becoming a fighter like the others. She modeled bikinis and was even a ring girl for a short period. Eventually, she too found herself in ESPN’s Body Issue and would also do some work with DSport magazine. In 2007, she would make her MMA debut. Six years later and she would have a world title to call her own after she defeated Jessica Penne to become the new Invicta FC atomweight champion.
Waterson found her way to the UFC two years later as she returned to her original division of strawweight. She remains a top contender today.
Russia’s Yankova started making noise in MMA with her first two fights coming in her homeland in 2013 and 2015. Shortly after that, she would be picked up by Bellator and added to their flyweight division – although her first three bouts ended up as 130-pound catchweight contests.
Yankova was 5-0 before she first tasted defeat at the hands of Kate Jackson in 2018. Having done some modeling earlier in her career, Yankova hasn’t fought since her loss, but has been modeling for various brands, including some bikini brands. She has also recently became a presenter for Russia’s main sports channel Match TV.