Great shot taken by @allelbows from my last fight. I am truly greatful for everything @invictafc has done for me! Such an amazing organization backing women who represent wmma with pride and passion! I have yet to see an invicta card that did not wow me and keep me on my toes! Can't wait to watch #invictafc12
So the big news buzzing around the world of mixed martial arts this past week is that Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson has signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) and has her first fight set with Angela Magana on July 12th.
When Waterson lost her belt to Brazil’s Herica Tiburcio last December, it was pretty much a heart breaker for the MMA community in general. Waterson is just generally very well-liked by everyone, so, somewhat in the vein of Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather, a lot of people were rooting for her but it just wasn’t her night.
Waterson was the Invicta FC Atomweight Champion which meant she was fighting at 105 lbs. Moving to the UFC means she’s moving up to strawweight, which is 115 lbs. She fought at 115 before, but it’s been over five years. She’s fought and defeated top-ranked UFC strawweight fighter Jessica Penne before, and Penne made semi-finals in The Ultimate Fighter 20 (TUF20) defeated only by the inaugural UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion Carla Esparza, so Waterson is likely going to be a strong contender, but top of the pile she currently is definitely not. Out of 29 fighters, the monster at the top is Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who just took down Carla Esparza.
I think the first fight against Magana in UFC is a warm up, as Magana didn’t even win her first round in TUF20 tournament just this last fall and is also on a losing streak. However, you really just never know until the door of the cage closes, so we’ll see.
Overall, I think the move to UFC was a good one for Waterson. The move up to strawweight means overall stronger and harder hitting opponents, but with her walking around at 128 lbs normally with 10% body fat, I’m much relieved that she doesn’t have to make that over 20lbs cut down to 105 just to fight anymore. I do mini-weight cuts with my friends for health and weight maintenance reasons, and cutting just 7 lbs a month is quite the challenge let alone 20+ lbs over a few weeks–and I’m NOT 10% fat for sure so I’ve actually got bad weight to shed unlike Waterson who’s all muscle!
In the sport in general, I feel there are a lot of stronger fighters that are crawling out of the woodworks now that women’s MMA is often upstaging the men’s performances. There have been quite a number of upsets recently by female fighters I’ve never heard of before either from the States or from abroad, taking down seasoned veterans that are far from being past their prime. Although it’s tough to see some of my favorites losing, this is actually good news for the sport overall, as more fighters means more challenge, and more challenge means evolution of the art and sport, and in the end, that’s a win for everyone.