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Claudia Gadelha: Paige VanZant not ready for top five competition yet

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Is Paige VanZant ready to fight for the UFC title? Fellow strawweight contender Claudia Gadelha doesn’t think so.

The 21-year old VanZant improved to 2-0 in the UFC with a dominant victory over Felice Herrig at UFC on FOX 15, and Gadelha was impressed by her performance. However, the Nova Uniao veteran believes he has a long way to go before thinking about the UFC gold.

"She’s aggressive and has a good cardio, but still has a lot to learn. She’s starting now," Gadelha told journalists in Brazil. "She’s training in a good team, but I think (VanZant and Herrig) still have a lot to evolve in the division. They are both well ranked, but still have a long way to go before fighting for the title."

VanZant was ranked at No. 12 before her win over Herrig, and jumped to No. 5 after the impressive performance. Gadelha, No. 2 in the strawweight division, believes that the UFC shouldn’t match her against the top of the division right now.

"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."

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