'She isn't going to be afraid to be herself,' Matt said of the 30-year-old bank marketing manager.
Things may not have worked out between Matt James and Katie Thurston, but that doesn't mean they can't both find love in the Bachelor franchise. In an interview with ET's Lauren Zima last week, Matt opened up about fans' calls for Katie to be the next Bachelorette.
"You saw Night One the type of woman that Katie is. She isn't going to be afraid to be herself, and you have seen that with the way that she has handled her business," Matt said, encouraging fans to "be patient to see how everything plays out."
"Katie will have her time. And having a woman like that in the house made the experience better for anybody," he added.
While fans have been on Katie's team for weeks, rumors sparked over the weekend that Katie had officially been chosen to star as the next Bachelorette. However, she appeared to shut those rumors down on social media.
"Reading my texts this morning like News to me," she wrote on her Instagram Story.
Katie made waves starting on Night One, when she greeted Matt with a vibrator as part of her entrance. It rubbed some of the contestants the wrong way, but Katie quickly became a fan favorite for her maturity. Amid drama in the house, Katie encouraged the women to be kind to each other, and alerted Matt there was bullying going on that could ruin one contestant's life.
The Renton, Washington native got her first one-on-one date with Matt on Monday night's episode of The Bachelor. They had fun pranking Matt's friend, Tyler Cameron, on the day part of their date, but after sitting down for dinner, Matt decided they weren't a match.
"I think back to the first night when we met, and how much our relationship has grown, and how you've set the tone, not only for the women in the house, but this experience -- for them and for me. I don't even know how to express to you how much I appreciate you and how much you've meant to me in this process," Matt said.
"But you've been honest with me, and I owe the same honesty to you, and the truth is my relationship with some of the other women in the house has progressed further along than ours has up until this point. And I can't give you this rose tonight," he added. "And that's not a slight at who you are and what our time has been together. I just haven't had those feelings I need to have of finding a wife in this process."
Matt told the camera that he and Katie just didn't have a connection that could lead to marriage. Katie, meanwhile, said she was shocked by his decision.
"I just didn't see that coming at all, and I just felt the blood drain from my face when he started to tell me that I wasn't getting the rose tonight," she said. "I was already picturing what it would be like to spend time with him at like, a football game with Tyler and his friends and my friends."
"You start painting your future, only for it to be erased," Katie expressed.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. See more in the video below.