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Claudia Gadelha: Paige VanZant is a dancer, not yet a professional fighter

SAO PAULO -- Paige VanZant is one of the top UFC rising stars in the strawweight division, but 115-pound contender Claudia Gadelha doesn’t think she’s quite there yet.

VanZant quickly improved to 3-0 under the UFC banner with wins over Kailin Curran, Felice Herrig and Alex Chambers, and headlines her first UFC card on Dec. 10 against Rose Namajunas.

Gadelha, who expects to face the winner of Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Valerie Letourneau for the UFC title around February, believes VanZant is getting all the hype because of her look.

"Ah, she’s selling, right?" Gadelha told the media during UFC Fight Night 77 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, when asked about VanZant. "The UFC wants fighters who can sell, who bring money to the organization. She’s pretty, a dancer, completely different from other fighters who are way better prepared physically, right?"

Winner of 13 of 14 fighters with eight stoppages, Gadelha isn’t sure VanZant, who holds a 6-1 record, already is a professional MMA fighter.

"She has said once that she thinks that fighters who are ripped used steroids, but I want to see her say that in two years, when she really becomes a professional fighter," Gadelha said. "She’s just starting and she’s a dancer, so she won’t have muscle in her body. But, in two years, I want her to answer this question again."

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