The 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue featured several notable athletes.
United States women’s national team stars Alex Morgan, Abby Dahlkemper, Megan Rapinoe and Crystal Dunn, former Olympian Lindsey Vonn, gymnast Simone Biles and MMA star Paige VanZant all posed for the iconic issue.
VanZant, who began her career with the UFC and now fights in the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, had an incredible experience with the magazine.
“I was unbelievably shocked that SI Swimsuit called and asked if I would be apart of their magazine. I have constantly been having to prove to the world and UFC fans that you can be beautiful and a bad ass at the same time. Well, now it’s my moment to shine,” she told SI.com.
VanZant said posing for the magazine was an important step for her.
“This is my way of not holding anything back. I want people to know that you don’t have to choose. You do not have to label yourself as one thing because that’s what surrounds you. I’m not scared anymore to show how girly I am. To go from an amazing UFC finish win in January, to shooting for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit magazine in February could not be more of a dream come true.”
Several of VanZant’s best photos have been shared on social media.
Sports Illustrated has also shared a cool behind-the-scenes look.
PAIGE. VANZANT. 💕 pic.twitter.com/bP5CDWFl7B
— Sports Illustrated Swimsuit (@SI_Swimsuit) May 10, 2019
The 2021 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, meanwhile, was released earlier this summer.
Photos from the 2021 issue can be seen online here.