Blaydes caused controversy when he stated that certain female fighters were only being promoted based on their looks, rather than their abilities inside the cage.
In a series of social media posts, Blaydes directly named VanZant and Rachael Ostovich as examples of fighters he felt were on the UFC roster more for their photogenic qualities than their fighting skills.
“So you telling me Paige Vanzant and Rachel Osto-whatever actually deserve time remain on the UFC’s roster for their ‘athletic achievements’ and their not just on cards for their sex appeal?” he mused.
“Cause if I’m wrong about that then I guess the whole premise of my original statement is wrong and I apologize but if you’re a legit fan of MMA you couldn’t possibly believe the two females I mentioned are on the roster for anything other than the fact they look good in bikinis.”
He also criticized former UFC fighter Pearl Gonzalez, who now fights for all-female MMA promotion Invicta FC.
“Yeah I know of Pearl she’s another one who’s not a very good fighter but stays relevant cause she’s constantly posting bikini training pics, her skills are exactly what they were 5 years ago a brawler with terrible footwork and decent grappling. Too many females in the athletic industry are getting by on being sexy not actually being good at their craft.”
Blaydes’ comments resulted in an instant riposte from Gonzalez, who slammed the UFC heavyweight contender for his words.
And now it seems VanZant has seen the spat and offered her less confrontational response.
“Good thing we’re so pretty,” she posted to Instagram, alongside a face-off photo of herself and Ostovich ahead of their bout in January 2019.
“It’s going to make when we punch each other in the face hurt a lot less….. but that much HOTTER. #prettyANDstrong”
Gonzalez’s response was less subtle, as she went straight after Blaydes for his comments.
“A fighter complaining how my looks keep me relevant and that my skills haven’t improved. The fact you are today years old and still can’t speak a full sentence blows my mind.
“We’re both from Chicago… a city full of violence.. somewhere we need to uplift. I used to shout this man out for being from the same city as me. I used to be a fan. Why not reach out & try to help women instead of criticizing?
“You didn’t just shame me.. you shamed all women.”
She then went on to make a couple of posts on Instagram directly opposing Blaydes comments as she asserted her choice to not only chase her dreams as a professional athlete, but also celebrate her femininity via her personal social media channels.