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Claudia Gadelha says Paige VanZant can make money by fighting ‘better opponents’

Claudia Gadelha says Paige VanZant can make money by fighting ‘better opponents’

UFC Women's strawweight fighter Claudia Gadelha of Brazil interacts with fans during a Q&A session before the UFC 198 weigh-in

Women’s strawweight fighter Paige VanZant recently made headlines when she claimed she made more money on Instagram than she did fighting in the UFC.

“With endorsements, I make way more money sitting at home posting pictures on Instagram than I do fighting,” VanZant said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. “If I were to stop everything I do outside of fighting and just fight, I would be at a loss financially by a long shot.”

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. VanZant has over 2 million followers on Instagram and is one of the more marketable stars in the UFC, especially having competed in Dancing With The Stars. However, her comments also seemed to indicate that she would be better off without competing in mixed martial arts.

For former strawweight title challenger Claudia Gadelha, though, there is certainly money to be made in the UFC. She just believes VanZant needs to fight better opposition.

“So Paige VanZant recently said she makes more money on Instagram than in fighting,” Gadelha told The Body Lock’s John Hyon Ko in Shenzhen. “I think this is kind of how her career started. She started as a dancer and then she started training and then she fought.

“I don’t really know what to say about that because she’s pretty, she can dance and she has a good personality — that’s why she makes a lot of money on Instagram. But to make more money fighting, she has to fight better fights and better opponents as well.”

As for Gadelha, she last competed in July where she outpointed Randa Markos. She is scheduled to face Cynthia Calvillo next at UFC DC which takes place December 7. Looking to win two in a row for the first time since 2017, the 30-year-old also gave an update on her injury status.

“I didn’t start camp yet because I broke my finger in my last fight,” she added. “So I’m rehabbing my finger and also tore a ligament in my ankle so I’m trying to get back training now.

“That’s why I’m here [in Shenzhen], that’s why I’m doing a lot of other things for the UFC because I can’t really train that hard yet. But soon as I get back to Vegas, I’ll be able to train everything and get camp started.”

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