“Lil Monster” gets her shot at a UFC contract on Dana White’s Contender Series this Tuesday. That will see the fighter — Vanessa Demopoulos, properly — go up against Cory McKenna in a strawweight bout.
Demopoulos is coming off the biggest win of her career, which saw her win the LFA strawweight championship just a few weeks ago. It was a big, come-from-behind submission victory.
“I was already down on points, I knew I needed to come back, I knew I needed a finish,” she told Cageside Press ahead of her Contender Series bout. “And I knew I had jiu-jitsu. So that’s what we’re going to use, is jiu-jitsu. It was excellent.”
Despite the chaotic scene, Demopoulos knew where the triangle was, so to speak. “I used to be able to grapple with my eyes closed, and I’d get yelled at by my coaches. Because they were like ‘you need to be able to see what you’re doing!’ But the human body is where it is. So I knew that the triangle was there, I went for it, I tied it up.”
Demopoulos credits her opponent Sam Hughes for being a warrior and not tapping. In the end, it probably made for a better scene. And no doubt helped land her a spot on the Contender Series, which returned just last week.
In fact less than twenty-four hours later, the Contender Series offer came. “It gave me chills,” Demopoulos admitted. “I was just starting to unwind, I was responding to everybody because you know I love the fans, and yeah I got the phone call. I was like ‘Yes!’ instantly.”
The promotion actually made Demopoulos take a few days to think about it, considering she’d just fought. She never wavered. Although she admits it is a quick turnaround, “I’m used to competing back-to-back. For three years of jiu-jitsu, that I was hitting the circuit so hard, that was my life. I went from one tournament to the next, every other week.”
That fast pace seems to follow Demopoulos in all walks of life. This year alone, she’s worked as a ring girl, a commentator, and already has two wins under her belt. “Life moves very fast. I love life, I really try to take advantage of a lot of opportunities that come my way, because I’m genuinely having fun,” she told us.
And with her goal of becoming LFA strawweight champion accomplished, “this is my life path right here, going into the Contender Series, going into the UFC, making my way into the rankings.”
When she did get the call for the Contender Series, the promotion told her they already had an opponent in mind. Demopoulos didn’t know exactly who it was, however. She had no qualms regardless. As she later put it, “if I’m actually ready for the UFC, f*ck it, why not go to the Contenders and show them, I’m f*cking here, I have arrived.”
— Vanessa Demopoulos (@monster_demo) August 7, 2020
Demopoulos has been notable for being a fighter who also strips as her day job. But she told Cageside Press that now that the big show is calling, she’ll be leaving the business. “I’m done dancing. I’d love to not have to walk into that club any longer. After August 11, I’m going to literally fight my way out of the strip clubs.”
She has no regrets, however. “It’s been a cool ride, it’s gotten me to where I’m at, and I love the industry for everything that it’s offered me, and everything that I’ve become through it. But I’m f*cking ready to be a fighter!”
Watch our full interview with LFA strawweight champion and Contender Series fighter Vanessa Demopoulos above.