Female UFC Star: 'I Make More Money on Instagram Than I Do Fighting' (2024)

Women mixed martial arts fighters are just as popular as the men, and yet even as the UFC grows in popularity, they don't get paid as much as the men. Ronda Rousey was the last real female superstar professional MMA fighter, and she has the net worth to prove it. She also took the women's side of the sport to another level of popularity before transitioning to the WWE.

If you're looking for a new woman in UFC President Dana White's octagon to root for, look no further than Paige VanZant. Not only did she once break her arm and somehow keep fighting, the 26-year-old is one of the more recognizable women UFC fighters because she whoops ass in the cage and doubles as an Instagram model.

While she's made a good chunk of change from her professional fighting career, she's said that she makes more money posting to Instagram than she does stepping into the octagon to fight. Yes, a selfie endorsing a product is apparently worth more than putting her body on the line.

VanZant grew up a fan of ballet, jazz and hip hop dance at her parents' dance studio in Dayton, Oregon, near her birth place of Dundee, Oregon. She also had a tomboy side to her that loved fishing, dirt bikes, hunting and shooting, which is why her father — Steve VanZant — nicknamed her "12 Gauge."

Not long after she started training at UFC veteran Ken Shamrock's gym when she moved to Sparks, Nevada, she began carving out a path out as a MMA fighter. She won her first amateur fight at 18 and by 2012 she turned pro, first fighting in the strawweight division and moving to the flyweight division in 2017. She's also a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

On top of making a living off throwing elbows and kicks, she met her husband and wrestler-turned-fellow-successful MMA fighter, Austin Vanderford. The two got married in September of 2018.

VanZant's built a sizable net worth in her brief career. Let's take a look at how she's done it.

Career Earnings in UFC & Mixed Martial Arts

VanZant made and won her professional MMA debut in 2012 at UWF's Tournament of Warriors finale against Jordan Nicole Gaza by split decision. Months later, she defeated Amber Stautzenberger at Premier Fight Series 2 by unanimous decision. She also fought and lost to Tecia Torres in Invicta FC 4 in 2013 before signing with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

According to TheSportsDaily.com, VanZant's career earnings for her World Extreme Cagefighting and UFC fights total $474,500 since she began fighting in the UFC in 2014. That figure doesn't include pay-per-view bonuses.

In VanZant's UFC debut, she defeated Kailin Curran by TKO in the third round during UFC Fight Night: Edgar vs. Swanson in November of 2014 and took home an estimated $66,000 for the fight of the night, according to TheSportsDaily.com.

In UFC on Fox: VanZant vs. Waterson in December of 2016, she lost to Michelle Waterson but still netted $48,000.

VanZant took home as little as $20,000 back in April of 2015 for fighting in UFC on Fox: Machida vs. Rockhold and most recently $91,000 for beating Rachael Ostovich in UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw in January of 2019.

That $91,000 was nothing compared with VanZant's male counterparts in the event. Two male fighters earned more than $400,000, another $390,000 and two others more than $170,000. Even Greg Hardy, the disgraced former NFL star, was paid $75,000 to step into the octagon.

She's reportedly earned about $40,000 to show up in her last five fights dating back to December of 2015 with the chance to double that for winning her fight.

Endorsem*nts & Social Media

“I make way more money sitting at home, posting pictures on Instagram, than I do fighting.”@paigevanzant says her endorsem*nt earnings greatly outpace her fight earnings (via @arielhelwani) pic.twitter.com/dpdANFcbxU

— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) August 26, 2019

VanZant has 2.5 million followers on Instagram and often posts sponsored content for companies like Stadium, MVMT watches and heath and beauty products like TC1Gel, Manscaped and Sun Valley Science. She also has a Youtube channel with nearly 25,000 subscribers.

In August of 2019, she told Ariel Helwani that she makes significantly more money posting to social media than she does fighting.

"With endorsem*nts I make way more money sitting at home, posting pictures on Instagram than I do fighting. With endorsem*nt deals and everything I pull in from social media, I would actually be at a loss just taking a fight and focusing on that. If I were to stop everything I do outside of fighting and just fight, I would be at a loss financially, by a long shot."

— Paige VanZant on Ariel Helwani's MMA show in August 2019.

VanZant also earns thousands of dollars per fight from a Reebok sponsorship. She signed with the company after her first ever UFC win in 2014 and maintained the endorsem*nt up until 2019.

You've probably seen VanZant's face somewhere outside the octagon. She appeared in Sports Illustrated's 2019 Swimsuit Edition. She's modeled for Nike and Columbia Sportswear. When she was a teen, she appeared in a mop commercial for Bissell.

She's even appeared on the popular TV series Dancing with the Stars and Chopped. Paired with professional dancer Mark Ballas, she came in second on season 22 of the hit dancing show.

In 2018, she opened up about being gang-raped in high school in her biography, Rise: Surviving the Fight of my Life.

What is Paige VanZant's Net Worth?

12 Gauge is one of the UFC's rising mixed martial artist stars and has steadily built a reputation as a successful fighter and social media influencer in the United States. She also has one of the best nicknames in the sport.

Estimates for Paige VanZant's net worth vary greatly, ranging from $600,000 to as much as $3.5 million, according to TSMSportz.com. As she gains a larger following the more she fights and posts on Instagram, that number only figures to shoot up.

This article was originally published August 30, 2019.

MORE: Ken Shamrock Talks Valor Bare Knuckle: Exclusive Interview on Fighting's Next Great Promotion

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Female UFC Star: 'I Make More Money on Instagram Than I Do Fighting' (2024)


Who is the most followed UFC fighter on Instagram? ›

Conor McGregor – 47.4 million Instagram followers

It's probably not surprising that “The Notorious” Conor McGregor tops this list.

What are the female MMA promotions? ›

Professional mixed martial arts organizations in the United States that invite women to compete are industry leader Ultimate Fighting Championship, the all female Invicta Fighting Championships, Resurrection Fighting Alliance, Bellator Fighting Championships, and Legacy Fighting Championship.

Who is Anshul Jubilee? ›

Anshul Jubli (born 13 January 1995), is an Indian professional mixed martial artist who currently competes in the Lightweight division of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Jubli became the second person from India to get a UFC contract, after Bharat Khandare.

Which UFC fighter makes the most money? ›

Conor McGregor is the highest-earning UFC Fighter of all time. The former two-division champion has raked in $39.3 million from his fights. This doesn't include Pay-Per-View earnings or endorsem*nts.

Who is UFC No 1 woman? ›

Alexa Grasso

Which MMA fighter has the most followers? ›

Tell us!
  • Conor McGregor. 57.6M total followers. ...
  • Khabib Nurmagomedov. 39.6M total followers. ...
  • Ronda Rousey. 22.7M total followers. ...
  • Anderson Silva. 12.5M total followers. ...
  • Israel Adesanya. 12.4M total followers. ...
  • Jon Bones Jones. 11.1M total followers. ...
  • Francis Ngannou. 9.5M total followers. ...
  • Islam Makhachev. 8.6M total followers.

How much does Anshul Jubli earn? ›

A. Jubli's disclosed career earnings are $50,000, with his most recent fight earning him $78,000, including base pay, win bonuses, and sponsorships. A. Anshul Jubli's next fight is scheduled for UFC 294 on October 21, 2023, against Mike Breeden.

Who is the goat of UFC history? ›

It is a question which is brought up often in mixed martial arts circles: who is the greatest UFC fighter of all time? With the promotion having just hosted its landmark UFC 300 event in Las Vegas, BBC Sport asked their readers to vote for their UFC 'GOAT' of the past 30 years.

How many matches did Anshul Jubli win in the UFC? ›

Anshul Jubli Record: 7-1-0.

Who is the highest-paid UFC fighter female? ›

#1. Amanda Nunes, reigning UFC women's bantamweight/featherweight champion.

What is the lowest paid UFC fighter? ›

The three tiers are low, medium, and high, with the lowest earning between $10,000 and $30,000 and the highest Tier for champions and superstars ranking between $500,000 and $3,000,000 per fight.

How many UFC fighters are millionaires? ›

Conor McGregor is the highest-paid UFC fighter with over $39 million in earnings. Rounding out the top five are Khabib Nurmagomedov, Alistair Overeem, Andrei Arlovski, and Anderson Silva. Twenty different fighters have at least $5 million in career earnings.

What UFC fighter has the most fans? ›

Highest followers on Instagram for UFC
SNInstagram AccountFollowers [In Million]
1.Conor McGregor47645202 [47.65 M]
2.Khabib Nurmagomedov37247124 [37.25 M]
3.Ronda Rousey17518003 [17.52 M]
4.Alex Oliveira10104928 [10.1 M]
96 more rows
Jun 16, 2024

Who is number one male UFC fighter? ›

Islam Makhachev

Who is the most followed AC on Instagram? ›

Most Followed Accounts on Instagram
RankAccountCurrent Followers
1Instagram672.9 million
2Cristiano Ronaldo630.8 million
3Leo Messi503.1 million
4Selena Gomez427.7 million
16 more rows


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