Believed to be the next big thing in women's mixed martial arts (MMA), Paige VanZant has proven she's deserving of the hype surrounding her young Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) career.
As with any rising prospect, many feel "12 Gauge" has been brought up through the ranks fairly cautiously. However, when you look at her resume, it hasn't exactly been an easy road thus far, taking out Kailin Curran in her debut while dominating longtime veteran, Felice Herring, in her sophomore effort.
That's why Rose Namajunas -- who will face Paige in the main event of UFC Fight Night 80 on Dec. 10, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada -- declared on The MMA Hour that her streaking 21-year old opponent has been brought up at just the right pace.
Her words (via FOX Sports):
"To me, I view her as a high-level opponent even though there's a lot of criticism around saying she's kind of like brought up slowly and all that. I think it's a very natural progression the way that we've matched up right now. I think that she's being brought up at the rate that she needs to be brought up. Obviously, this is a jump up in competition for her coming up. So I think that's the test that everybody has been waiting for. I think she's been waiting for [it] as well. I'm more than willing to bring it to her."
"Thug Rose" jumped at the opportunity to face Paige after Joanne Calderwood was forced out of their pivotal strawweight bout with an injury (details here).
Insisting she's more motivated than ever, Rose has the chance to stir up the division with an upset win over VanZant. Plus, she can also shift the spotlight back on herself after she was labeled as the "next Ronda Rousey" during her stint on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 20.
To see who else is fighting at UFC Fight Night 80 click here.