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Tecia Torres: 'Daddy Dana' won't give Paige VanZant title shot, 'because he doesn't want to see her die'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

LOS ANGELES -- In Tecia Torres' mind, there are multiple women in the UFC's strawweight division who can make a case for a title shot next. She doesn't necessarily include herself in that bunch. And there's another top-10 fighter she leaves out, too: Paige VanZant.

Torres believes VanZant needs to do more than beating Felice Herrig to earn herself a bout with champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. "Tiny Tornado" doesn't think VanZant will be put in that position by UFC president Dana White anyway, since she's the UFC's "golden girl."

"If she got a title shot, I think that would be crazy," Torres said Tuesday at a media lunch in Downtown LA. "I don't think 'Daddy Dana' would give her a title shot, because he doesn't want to see her die."

Torres (5-0) has strong feelings about VanZant and for good reason. She beat the up-and-coming star two years ago under the Invicta FC banner. And Torres also owns a victory over Herrig. So, she wasn't too pleased when she saw all the promotion -- and main card treatment on FOX -- that the fight between those two popular competitors got last weekend.

"People are going to say I'm jealous, but I'm going to say it: Yeah, I was a little jealous," Torres said. "I'm fighting in Mexico City, I'm excited about it. I don't even know if I'm on the main card in that yet.

"It's kind of crazy to see the amount of attention they got just because the looks that they portray. But that's what sells. That's what's going to make the company money and in return I guess that'll make me money in the end, in the long run."

Torres, 25, takes on Angela Hill, her fellow Ultimate Fighter 20 alum, at UFC 188 on June 13. The UFC website doesn't have a full breakdown of what fights will be on pay-per-view yet, but Torres-Hill, which could be a fun, stand-up war, has a solid chance.

Either way, Torres feels slighted. She also doesn't think VanZant should be ranked No. 7 among UFC women's strawweight contenders. Torres has said in the past that she would not grant VanZant a rematch, because she beat her the first time. But she has changed her mind now due to VanZant's Reebok endorsement and her growing stardom.

"She'll get a rematch and I'm going to do exactly what I did last time -- I'm gonna dominate her," Torres said. "I think she's doing well, but I just think that my fighting style for Paige is what you have to do. Felice could have beaten her, I think. She should have worked her striking, in and out, get those points. Instead she wanted to clinch, tie it up with her and Paige is a much better wrestler than Felice, so she lost."

Torres was rooting for Herrig at UFC on FOX 15 even though she and Herrig had somewhat of a rivalry in the TUF house.

"I was upset at Felice," Torres said. "I was yelling at the screen, saying 'Felice, Felice, what are you doing? Fight your game!' But she gave up the win to Paige. Congrats to Paige, but I still think she's outside the top 10. Maybe nine, 10."

VanZant, who is just 21 years old, has remained humble after her two UFC victories and even said after beating Herrig that she has more work to do before receiving a title shot. However, anyone ranked as high as No. 7 could reasonably get there with one or two more wins.

Torres has a feeling the UFC will not give her too challenging of an opponent next, though.

"The only thing that matters is who wins the fight," Torres said. "I'm not sure who they'll put her against next, but I see it being a fight that she could possibly win. I don't think she's going to lose. They have a golden girl right now, I guess."

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