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23rd Dec 2017

Being Paige VanZant’s boyfriend is not without its dangers


Darragh Murphy

The benefits of being in a relationship with a fellow fighter are manifold.

You’ve got a lot in common with one another, the person who knows the most about you is always in your corner and impromptu workouts are so very easy to throw together.

But there are some drawbacks too.

Just ask Paige VanZant’s boyfriend Austin Vanderford, who felt the full power of the UFC star when going through a pad session in the couple’s garage this week.

Vanderford has been seeing the UFC’s 12th-ranked strawweight for a while now and he’s always seen in the background of VanZant’s social media posts.

But Vanderford was front and centre on Friday, putting ’12 Gauge’ through her paces as she prepares for her flyweight debut against Jessica Rose-Clark in three weeks’ time.

As VanZant drilled some striking combinations, she let fly with a roundhouse kick that sneaked around her boyfriend’s mitts and clipped him right on the jaw.

Let’s hope it was a bit of spit that went flying, rather than a tooth, but maybe Vanderford could do with popping in a gumshield for future sessions because this one had to be cut short.

VanZant meets Clark on the main card of UFC Fight Night 124 in St. Louis, Missouri on January 14 with the winner set for a healthy place in the rankings of the promotion’s newest weight division.