clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dana White on Paige VanZant: Some people have that 'it factor' that you can't teach

Strawweight prospect Paige VanZant has already proved a polarising figure in the infancy of her career. UFC president Dana White reflects on what makes VanZant a star in the making.

Ester Lin/MMA Fighting

Top strawweight prospect Paige VanZant became the latest UFC fighter to sign an exclusive deal with Reebok this week. The deal means 20 year old VanZant will join an exclusive list of the sport's biggest names, including champions Ronda Rousey and Jon Jones, as well as out spoken Irishman Conor McGregor, who signed for the apparel company earlier this year.

VanZant's deal has drawn criticism from certain fighters, including champion Carla Esparza, but UFC President Dana White was firmly on VanZant's side.

Speaking to, White explained why he felt VanZant was a good fit for Reebok.

So honored to be a Reebok athlete!!! My new kicks got me groovin!!!!!! Haha @reebok @reebokwomen

A video posted by Paige VanZant (@paigevanzantufc) on

‘Listen, people love that girl. She has a great personality - I don't know if you saw the Instagram of her dancing out in front of her car. That's awesome. She has the personality. Some people have that "it factor" that you can't teach people, and Paige has it.'

While White is obviously a massive fan of the talented up-and-comer, the feeling is not universal. Earlier this week, UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza raised some concerns about being ‘constantly overlooked by sponsors,' but Dana White moved quickly to ease Esparza's concerns.

‘The thing is for Carla, Carla is the champ. Some things come easier for other people. I don't think that the Paige VanZant deal is a reflection on Carla negatively at all. Reebok can choose whoever they want. Chris Weidman, T.J. Dillashaw, Demetrious Johnson, Cain Velasquez, and Jose Aldo don't have deals with Reebok. The Reebok deal is still new and Reebok can't just run out and sign everybody.'

Paige VanZant last appeared at UFC Fight Night: Edgar vs. Swanson, where she defeated the durable Kailin Curran by 3rd round TKO. VanZant will be hoping to build upon her recent success when she faces the experienced Felice Herrig at UFC on FOX 15