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8 Mar, 2019 13:43

Knockout! UFC star Paige VanZant sizzles in Sports Illustrated swimsuit shoot (VIDEOS)

Knockout! UFC star Paige VanZant sizzles in Sports Illustrated swimsuit shoot (VIDEOS)

Former UFC champion Paige VanZant has joined Ronda Rousey as the only mixed martial artists to have been featured in Sports Illustrated's annual Swimsuit Issue, after the publication revealed her involvement on Thursday.

Flyweight VanZant, 24, will star in the 'athletes' edition of the famous magazine feature which will hit newsstands in May. SI revealed her participation this week with a series of videos showing the bikini-clad fighter posing for the shoot in the idyllic setting of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

She was last seen in the UFC's Octagon in January where she defeated Rachael Ostovich by second-round armbar submission.

Former UFC champ, and now full-time member of the WWE roster, Ronda Rousey was previously featured in the magazine's pages in 2016.

VanZant currently sports an 8-4 record in her professional career (5-3 UFC) and has parlayed her MMA career into a number of professional opportunities outside of the cage. Two years ago she was featured as a cast-member on popular reality show 'Dancing with the Stars'.

She also released an autobiography, 'Rise: Surviving the Fight of My Life', last year.

"I feel like when you're in Sports Illustrated, that means you make it," VanZant said of her participation.

"So it's a really big deal. I'm mostly excited for people to see this side of me. I think people do forget that, yes, I'm a professional fighter ... I punch people in the face for a living. But you can look really cute, too."

The timing of VanZant's shoot has been less than ideal for the fighter after she revealed on social media last week that she had suffered a fracture to her forearm in training - a repeat of the injury which kept her on the shelf for a significant portion of 2018.