Vanessa Demopoulos quit her job as a stripper just weeks before her second UFC appearance, but that previous career is proving beneficial to her as a mixed martial artist.
Demopoulos was set to return at UFC 270 against Silvana Juarez Gomez and the strawweight contender made a big change to her life in the lead-up to the fight. The 33-year-old stopped her 13-year pole dancing career to focus on her training camp and her MMA career, she revealed.
“I don’t think it’s a secret, I was an exotic entertainer for 13 years,” Demopoulos said after UFC 270 (via The Sun). “And I didn’t actually say it 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 full-time 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.”
The move ended up paying off as Demopoulos scored a first-round submission win over Gomez to pick up her first UFC victory. She made her UFC debut against JJ Aldrich losing by decision. She’s currently 7-4 as a pro and is the former LFA strawweight champion. She defeated current UFC fighter Sam Hughes to win the vacant belt.
Vanessa Demopoulos went on to explain how her background in pole dancing has helped her with her agility and flexibility which helps her jiu-jitsu.
“Pole dancing takes a lot of agility, a lot of body awareness, a lot of dexterity and flexibility, and you have to be quick with your reactions,” Demopoulos said. “It’s similar to what jiu-jitsu feels like, but in jiu-jitsu, you have options of tapping if you have to, or you’re safe if you are on the ground. With pole dancing, it’s very death-defying in the sense that you’re literally hanging on with, like, a limb, and one wrong move, you’re done. Like, I’m falling from two stories and that’s it. You only fall once.”
What did you make of Vanessa Demopoulous’ performance at UFC 270?