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Dana White talks Amanda Ribas’ newfound popularity, expects fall return after finish of Paige VanZant

While many state that the UFC has had a difficult time producing new stars, they may have found one in Amanda Ribas.

Ribas opened up the UFC 251 main card earlier this month and submitted Paige VanZant in the first round of the flyweight matchup. Since the victory, the American Top Team standout has received VIP treatment during the following two events—including Saturday night’s UFC Fight Island 2 card in Abu Dhabi.

On Wednesday night, Ribas received attention on the UFC on ESPN 13 broadcast, as well as UFC president Dana White’s Twitter page while he was asking fans to give their suggestions on who should receive post-fight bonuses.

Following Saturday night’s event on Yas Island, White spoke with reporters backstage and was asked about the state of Ribas’ newfound popularity.

“It’s huge,” White said. “Overnight, she got 100,000 followers on social media. Everybody was talking about her. You couldn’t perform better than she did: in the fight, in the interview and just doing the things you need to do when you’re in that position. That’s why we put her on the main card.”

Ribas has won her last five fights, four of which took place in the UFC. The 26-year-old’s octagon resume also includes a submission win over Emily Whitmire, as well as dominant decision wins over Mackenzie Dern and Randa Markos.

As far as when White expects the strawweight contender to return, he’ll get with the matchmakers once business resumes in Las Vegas. But he plans on her back in the octagon within the next few months.

“She wants to fight again in the fall,” White explained. “We’ll get home, we’ll get her figured out, and we’ll see her again soon.”

Following her victory over VanZant, Ribas called for the winner of the upcoming top-10 matchup between Carla Esparza and Marina Rodriguez, which scheduled to take place July 25.

White isn’t against the callout, but didn’t seem like he was ready to pull the trigger on the idea at the moment.

“That’s a big jump,” White stated. “She’s good. I mean, she buzzsawed through Paige, easily. Normally, we’ll get back to the office, get in the room and start arguing what we think is next for her, and what’s right for her.

“But, maybe. Maybe.”

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