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Morning Report: Urijah Faber says Paige VanZant believes 'in her mind' she's ready for Joanna Jedrzejczyk

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Paige VanZant is already headlining UFC events, but is she ready for Joanna Champion?

The 21-year-old strawweight was slated to headline opposite No. 8 Joanne Calderwood Dec. 10 in Las Vegas, Nevada, but now faces former top contender Rose Namajunas after the Scot suffered a knee injury.

With VanZant sitting at No. 6 in the division, her Team Alpha Male head coach Urijah Faber was asked if fighting third-ranked Namajunas is too big of a step up in competition.

"The more I get to know VanZant, the more I think any matchup is good for her," Faber told ESPN's Brett Okamoto. "She has a really natural ability to push the pace and be in amazing shape. It's like, you can't get that girl tired. So I think it's a real good matchup. People always like to downplay someone if they're marketable and good-looking, but the fact is that she gets out there and performs. Right now, a fight with Namajunas -- VanZant has to be able to win a fight like that, and I think she will."

VanZant may not be undefeated at just 6-1 as a pro, but she's 3-0 in the Octagon with a pair of stoppages. VanZant's lone decision over Felice Herrig is bookended by a TKO win against Kailin Curran in her debut and a submission of Alex Chambers at UFC 191.

According to Faber, VanZant already has the confidence to challenge strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

"In her mind, she's ready for Joanna Jedrzejczyk, which is the important thing," said Faber. "The one thing I'd worry about is Jedrzejczyk has had 80 fights as a Muay Thai practitioner. So, as one of VanZant's mentors and teammates, I'd like to see her get more experience before she fights for the strap."

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