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Vanessa Demopoulos: ‘It’s been nice being a retired stripper’ ahead of third UFC bout

“It was exhausting to be awake until four o’clock in the morning and still make sure you’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”

Training for a fistfight and then going to perform eight hours of exotic dancing until the wee hours of the morning can be a little taxing. Not that I would know anything about such a combination, personally...

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Strawweight prospect Vanessa Demopoulos became a stripper at age 20 and wasn’t able to call herself a full-time mixed martial artist (MMA) until right before her first victory inside the Octagon. As she prepares to pick up win No. 2, Demopoulos (7-4) can’t help but feel a continued relief having to juggle a less stressful overall lifestyle.

“It’s been a huge life shift for me,” Demopoulos told MMAMania.com regarding being a full-time MMA fighter. “Not needing to go to work anymore, I can actually rest on the weekends vs. before, I was always needing to go make income. But even my job before was another training session, you know? So I had to pace myself so that I could make it through an eight-hour shift of doing crazy gymnastics and dancing. Just being a personality throughout the duration of those shifts. It was exhausting to be awake until four o’clock in the morning and still make sure you’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle to be an athlete at the highest caliber possible in one of the toughest sports imaginable. So it’s been nice being a retired stripper, for sure.”

Demopoulos, 33, had been living with this extreme intertwinement of careers since 2012 when she made her amateur debut and fought seven times before turning professional five years later. Along the way, she racked up plenty of experience in jiu-jitsu competitions and showcased her talent on some of the biggest platforms imaginable. Additionally, she’s done commentary for Eddie Bravo Invitational (EBI) events and now hosts Extra Rounds on UFC Fight Pass.

Looking to snowball her momentum off a first-round armbar submission of Silvana Gomez Juarez at UFC 270 in Jan. 2022 (watch highlights), “Lil Monster” takes on former Invicta Fighting Championship Atomweight champion, Jinh Yu Frey on June 25.

“I am an entertainer at heart, that’s where I thrive. Please, put me in these [high pressure] environments,” Demopoulos said. “They're like, ‘Oh! First time, never been done before!’ I’m like, yep, sign me up! I’ll be there (laughs).

“Good for her (Frey) getting a little bit of momentum and being able to kind of come back after some losses but I’m a finisher, she’s a marathon runner,” she continued. “It’s one of those where we’re looking at an exciting fight here and I’m personally very excited to be able to walk in there with someone who’s already had four fights in the UFC. Someone who’s already prepared several different times for a fight. Even her last fight dropped off last second so, in my head, she’s had five fights. That last fight should have happened, she had a full training camp. So this is a really cool opportunity for me to go out there in my own division to be able to do something amazing.”