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Dana White On Paige VanZant's 'It Factor'

"The Download" with Dana White is a weekly exclusive interview with the boss, covering everything that's in the news. This week Dana talks about the Paige VanZant Reebok deal, the greatness of Ronda Rousey, and more.

Rising UFC women’s star Paige VanZant became the newest Reebok-sponsored athlete this week, and the No. 10-ranked strawweight showcased exactly what makes her so marketable when she announced the news.

VanZant posted a video of her dancing in celebration on Instagram, and UFC President Dana White said that’s what makes her so marketable.

So honored to be a Reebok athlete!!! My new kicks got me groovin!!!!!! Haha @reebok @reebokwomen
A video posted by Paige VanZant (@paigevanzantufc) on Feb 10, 2015 at 8:27am PST

“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,” White told “She has the personality. Some people have that “it factor” that you can’t teach people, and Paige has it.”

In her last outing, VanZant was spectacular in her UFC debut, finishing a tough Kailin Curran back in November 2014. She takes a step up in competition when she meets No. 8-ranked Felice Herrig in April.

Esparza shortly after winning the strawweight titleUFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza seemed disappointed by the news that VanZant received a deal with Reebok.

Esparza told MMAJunkie that she feels she is constantly being overlooked. But White said that it is not a reflection on the champ. In fact, there are plenty of UFC title holders who aren’t sponsored by Reebok.

“The thing is for Carla, Carla is the champ. Some things come easier for other people,” White said. “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.”

On the greatness of Ronda Rousey

White has been a fan of Rousey for quite some time, and it’s hard to blame him. The UFC women’s bantamweight champion seems to be getting better every day, and she continues to branch out into other areas of popular culture.

Rousey steps on the scale at UFC 175 weigh-insRousey, already transitioning into the movie world, is set to appear in this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, marking another amazing accomplishment for one of the most dangerous forces in MMA today.

White said what makes Rousey so special is how hard she works every single day.

“I’ve never met a human being like Ronda Rousey. She is unbelievable,” White said. “I’ll tell you what she should be doing – she should be doing a one-in-a-million commercial, because she’s one in million. She is the most unique individual I’ve ever met, man or woman.

“The way that she thinks, how hard she works, the way she prepares herself – she’ll fight anybody, anytime. She’s not joking when she says she’d fight on a day’s notice. If she has time to cut the weight, she’ll fight.”

Rousey said in the UFC 184 extended preview: “My mindset going into every camp is to improve more than my opponent ever could. I know that I’m going to retire undefeated, I’m going to take everybody out one by one, and then I’m going to go about my merry way.”


White said Rousey refuses satisfaction, and she deserves everything that she’s accomplished and more.

“Her work ethic is second to none, she wants to achieve everything, and she wants to conquer everything,” White said. “She’s become so big, and she’s doing what she’s doing because she was built for it. A lot of people win the title and they get lazy. They don’t want to do any PR, they don’t want to do this or do that. Ronda never says no to anything. She works her ass off. She deserves everything she has and more.”

On Benson Henderson vs. Brandon Thatch in Broomfield

Thatch performing at the open workoutsHenderson is taking the fight on short notice and fighting for the first time at welterweight inside the Octagon, but White said all the pressure rests on the shoulders of the young and talented “Rukus.”

“Benson is a well-rounded guy,” White said. “The thing is for a kid like Thatch – first time ever as a main event, in his hometown, and, even though Henderson has fought at 155 pounds, he’ll be looking across at a former UFC world champion. He’ll have a lot of pressure in this fight.”

The matchup may come down to Henderson’s speed and experience vs. Thatch’s size and power.
> READ: Fight Night Broomfield Fantasy Preview | Predictions | Thatch Feature | Henderson Feature

White said it’s a very interesting fight.

“Thatch is a really tough guy – he’s a beast, man,” White said. “He is a big 170-pounder. I have a lot of respect for Ben Henderson taking this fight. He wanted to move up to 170, he wanted to try it out and see if he can perform. He has been talking about this for a while. He got what he asked for, and I’m looking forward to it.”