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Claudia Gadelha on Paige VanZant: 'If you put her against anyone from the top 5, she can’t win'

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UFC women's strawweight Claudia Gadelha praised Paige VanZant, but wasn't ready to crown her as a serious contender just yet.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Plenty of attention on the UFC women's strawweight division has been centered around Paige VanZant, who has been billed as a prospect with massive potential to be a future champion in her weight class as well as its breakout star. VanZant, who is coming off a dominant performance over Felice Herrig in April, has her own Reebok deal and has soared her way into the #7 spot on the UFC rankings. VanZant has gone on record as saying that she'll take her time trying to become the youngest champion in UFC history, and a fellow contender concurs that she needs time to develop.

In an interview with Brazilian journalists, Claudia Gadelha had plenty of good things to say about the 21-year-old, but as far as putting her in against top 5 opposition, she doesn't feel that she'd win any of those fights right now. (Via MMA Fighting)

"I don't think you can put her against the lions yet," she said. "If you put her against anyone from the top 5, she can't win. She's a good fighter, super talented, and the UFC is doing a good marketing on her. She sells well, but still has a lot to learn. She's too young. She just started in this sport."

"She's a beautiful fighter and knows how to sell her image, and that's good for the UFC," Gadelha added, "but I guarantee she wouldn't do well against any top 5 fighter."

For the record, the current top 5 (not including the champion) is Carla Esparza, Gadelha, Rose Namajunas, Jessica Penne, and Tecia Torres (who beat VanZant in Invicta).

Meanwhile, Gadelha is trying to set herself up for a rematch with reigning champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who defeated the Brazilian by split decision in December. Gadelha was scheduled to face Aisling Daly in Poland before pulling out with an injury, and she currently doesn't have a fight scheduled.