There’s no shortage of fighters early in their Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) careers who arrive with second jobs, but we think Strawweight Vanessa Demopoulos may have one of the most interesting. Demopoulos survived a nasty knockdown early into her UFC 270 fight against Silvana Gomez Juarez last night (Sat., Jan. 22, 2022) to come back and win via first round armbar (watch the finish here).
After the win, “Lil Monster” surprised everyone again with a front flip into the splits to celebrate the victory. That’s a move, she says, that she mastered during her decade-plus career as a stripper.
“That’s my stripper guard right there,” Demopoulos said at the UFC 270 post-fight press conference. “I don’t think it’s a secret I was an exotic dancer for 13 years and I didn’t actually say this on the mic, but I’d like to say it right now: I walked away from being a stripper to continue this camp. I quit dancing about six to eight weeks ago just so I could focus on MMA, take this extremely seriously in the gym every single day.”
“But yeah, that’s where that background comes from and that’s where the splits come from. And a lot of my jiu jitsu, actually, comes from my expertise as a pole dancer!”
She’s leveraged that expertise beyond just jiu-jitsu: Demopoulos is also the author of an “instructional how-to” book on exotic dancing called, “The Stripper Bible” and is a second generation talent.
“I just kind of followed the family footsteps right there,” she explained to Cageside press back in 2020. “My dad was a DJ and my mom was an entertainer and that’s how they initially met. So when I was growing up, it was a very common discussion. Talking about the clubs, the scenes. When I became an entertainer, my father actually taught me how to hustle and how to be a professional in the industry. So it was kind of nice to have that support.”
The win over Juarez puts the former LFA women’s champion back in the win column after a tough run in UFC that saw her lose a Contender Series fight and then drop a decision in her promotional debut against J.J. Aldrich.
Not only did she earn the victory in the cage at UFC 270, she won over the fans and Joe Rogan with her infectious positivity and enthusiasm. We look forward to seeing more of Demopoulos and her pole-inspired grappling moves in the future.
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