Still haven’t converted to the UFC faith? Octagon girl Arianny Celeste won’t need three rounds to win you over.

This feature appears in Complex's February/March 2012 issue.

Arianny Celeste, the Octagon Girl who yokes up UFC fans in their sweetest dreams, didn’t know anything about mixed martial arts when she took a job with the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2006. The self-described fitness nerd proved to be a quick learner, though, and now she’s a grappling expert. Now, Celeste, 26, knows how to inflict damage if provoked. Thankfully, asking the Las Vegas native to get naked for a camera isn’t one such provocation.

What’s it like watching people hurt each other all the time?
At first it was scary because I wasn’t educated about the sport. I didn’t know what UFC was until I started working for the company. But by getting to know it as a sport, learning to appreciate it as an art, everything fell into place. It’s real fighting—they’re really bleeding and sweating. But it is a sport. In fact, it’s the best sport in the world.

 

We were at a bar and this girl just attacked me, unprompted...
She went home crying.

 

What are the common misconceptions about Octagon Girls?
People think we’re ditzy and stupid. But the UFC girls have changed the game. It’s not just about walking around, showing the goods. We’re not in thongs and high heels. You need to be educated about the sport if you’re going to represent the UFC. You can be the most beautiful girl in the world but if you can’t talk about the sport then you’re not valuable to them.

Have you ever been in a fight?
I’ve been in two fights. One was in high school, and it was horrible. The other was a little dirtier. It happened after I’d been training. This girl was out for me for no reason. We were at a bar and she just attacked me, unprompted.

Did you win?
I definitely won. She went home crying.

What do you look for in a fighter?
Going for it every time. Some of the fighters, once they start winning, their fights get boring and safe. One of my favorites is BJ Penn because he’s got the fighter’s heart every time. It’s always a battle.

What’s a good age to have your first fight?
If you’re a guy and by age 18 you’ve haven’t been in a fight, you’re not living. I mean, I’m a girl and I’ve been in two. Live life.

I’ve never been in a fight—what’s the first mistake I would make?
Not protecting yourself. Once you get hit, you’re done—unless you’re a UFC fighter. Protect your face and wait. Then aim for the jaw. A hit to the jaw messes with a person’s equilibrium, then you get into them however you want.

But what if I can’t reach her jaw?

WATCH ARIANNY'S BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO:

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ADDITIONAL CREDITS: (HAIR & MAKEUP) Tara Jean. (SECOND IMAGE) Jacket by Skingraft / Shorts by Coco De Mer / Collar by Stockroom. (ALL OTHER IMAGES) Dress and collar by Stockroom / Shoes by Christian Louboutin / Vintage bra by Grey L.A. / Corset by Coco De Mer / Hosiery by Donna Karan / Shoes by Shoe Dazzle.