In 2011, Jon Jones became the youngest Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) titleholder ever, thanks to a violent, technical knockout win over Mauricio Rua at UFC 128. "Bones" was just 23 years old.
That record may soon fall, however, if Paige VanZant has anything to say about it.
"12 Gauge" -- who is 2-0 inside the Octagon with wins over Felice Herrig and Kailin Curran -- says she's on course to break Jon's record of youngest champion to ever compete inside the eight-walled cage. Still, she admits she isn't in a big hurry to get to the big dance, because at the age of 21, she has two years to get it done.
From her conversation with Sherdog:
"I need to remind myself and remind people that this is my ride. This is my journey. It's up to me what fights I take. I'm going to take my time. I'm 21 years old. I still have two years to be the youngest belt holder if I wanted to."
Aside from taking care of business inside the cage, Paige has also shown she has the "it" factor to make waves outside the Octagon, too.
Much to the chagrin of some, the up-and-coming contender signed an exclusive deal with Reebok earlier this year, proving that her bubbly personality and fighting chops are a perfect combination to earn recognition with big-time sponsors.
She still isn't satisfied, however, as VanZant is determined to grow her popularity and fan base with each and every fight. And she'll do it with the aide of her coaching staff at Team Alpha Male.
For Paige, having a consistent team that teaches her the right technique is part of her success.
"I think that's something that's always been in me. I think that's something a lot of Team Alpha Male fighters just happen to have, that desire, that will that you have to win and the stubbornness that you won't give up. It's that fighter that's born inside of you. I think that I've always had that my entire life. I've always been a fighter. I just get the technique here."
VanZant will return to action this weekend (Sat., Sept. 5, 2015) when she takes on Alex Chambers in the opening bout of the UFC 191 pay-per-view (PPV) event.
And she'll be on her game, too, because she knows an upset loss to Chambers -- who doesn't exactly have the same recognition and fan fare she possesses -- can easily change all of that.
We shall see.
To see the finalized line up for UFC 191: "Johnson vs. Dodson 2" click here.