Earlier this week, Paige VanZant joined a small and prestigious club of mixed martial arts (MMA) athletes when she was granted a solo sponsorship deal with Reebok.
That's quite an accomplishment for someone who has only five professional MMA fights to her credit and only one bout under the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) banner. So, if you're wondering why a relative newcomer to the sport is getting so much backing, it's because she has something many don't: "it factor."
That's according to UFC president Dana white, who tells "The Download" that Paige's personality simply draws people to her and that's something that can't be taught.
"Listen, people love that girl. She has a great personality - I don't know if you saw the Instagram of her dancing out in front of her car. That's awesome. She has the personality. Some people have that "it factor" that you can't teach people, and Paige has it."
Upon hearing the news, UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza admitted she was happy for "12 Gauge," but she also indicated how frustrating it was to be "overlooked" by Reebok and UFC.
As White sees it, some things just come easier for certain people and the fact that Reebok opted to sign VanZant isn't a negative reflection on the "Cookie Monster." Plus, the UFC president says he has no control over who Reebok signs -- despite their partnership -- and points out other high-profile champions that don't have deals with the sports apparel company yet.
"The thing is for Carla, Carla is the champ. Some things come easier for other people. I don't think that the Paige VanZant deal is a reflection on Carla negatively at all. Reebok can choose whoever they want. Chris Weidman, T.J. Dillashaw, Demetrious Johnson, Cain Velasquez, and Jose Aldo don't have deals with Reebok. The Reebok deal is still new and Reebok can't just run out and sign everybody."
Esparza will return to the Octagon on March 14, 2015 when she attempts to defend her title for the first time against No. 1 contender Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the co-main event of UFC 185 in Dallas, Texas (details).
As for VanZant, she'll take on fellow "hottie" Felice Herrig at UFC on FOX 15 on April 18, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey.
Fore more on that upcoming bout click here.