Dana White's reaction to Paige VanZant's baffling title shot announcement was cruel but fair
For a few brief minutes, the world thought that Paige VanZant was getting a UFC title shot.
If CM Punk can be a UFC fighter and Conor McGregor can box Floyd Mayweather, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that Paige VanZant can be a UFC title challenger.
Although she is coming off a loss and hasn't fought for nearly a full year, there was something scarily believable about VanZant's tweet during UFC 217.
She sent out a tweet claiming that she would be taking on the inaugural women's flyweight champion who is set to be crowned at the conclusion of the current season of the Ultimate Fighter. Unsurprisingly, this isn't happening, with many expecting one-time women's bantamweight title challenger Valentina Shevchenko to get the second crack at the 125 lb strap.
My next fight is against the winner of the 125 division Ultimate Fighter. Don’t blink.
— Paige VanZant (@paigevanzant) November 5, 2017
Although it has since been reported that the UFC were not trying to make that fight happen, VanZant was adamant that it was being discussed, as she explained during Monday's MMA Hour.
"I did tweet that. I did say that. You know I've been going back and forth with the UFC for a long time. There's a lot that goes on behind the scenes that the general public doesn't know about. That was some of the talk with the UFC within my team and being at Madison Square Garden and watching these three title fights and one of the only losses in the UFC is to Rose Namajunas and to see her fighting for the title and then win the title, I was all amped up and full of energy and I was like, 'I'M TWEETING IT!' Who knows, you know? The answer is always no if you don't ask."
To VanZant's credit, she did give newly-crowned strawweight queen Rose Namajunas a tougher fight than Joanna Jedrzejczyk managed at UFC 217. Her only other losses came against former Invicta atomweight champion Michelle Waterson and perpetual contender Tecia Torres. So as "12 Gauge" saw it, she wouldn't be the worst candidate to fight the yet-to-be-crowned champion.
"I am coming off a loss, I know that, but coming up to a new division my only two losses in the UFC are to the now-115 lb champion. I went five rounds with Rose. I did get beat up, I know that, but I went five rounds with her. And also, to Michelle Waterson, who's ranked in the top five, I believe. My only two losses in the UFC are to very formidable opponents."
His reaction to the question really said it all https://t.co/Ds8eEmPlCT
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) November 29, 2017
VanZant may have been certain that there was a line of conversation, but Dana White couldn't be less sure of what she was talking about. The UFC president completely shot down the idea that a VanZant title shot was being discussed during his media scrum on Tuesday.
"I don't know. (Smiles widely) Yeah, I didn't really talk to her. I talked to her and Urijah (Faber) on the phone one day. You know, I think she was joking or throwing it out there... hey, positive thinking. (laughs)"
One thing's for sure, it will take a lot more than that to knock VanZant's confidence.