Coming off arguably the biggest win of her career at UFC Philadelphia, Michelle Waterson is eyeing a title shot, and gave insight into why she deserves it post-fight.
Philadelphia, PA — Timing is everything. In life, in sports. For Michelle Waterson, her timing was on at UFC Philadelphia on Saturday night. There, she won a three-round unanimous decision against former title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz. The win improved Waterson’s record to 17-6. With three straight wins in the UFC, she’s on her best run in years. She’s still in her prime, and as marketable a fighter as you’ll find in the sport.
So again, timing is everything. And so ‘The Karate Hottie’ is ready for her title shot. At 33, there isn’t much time left in her prime. And the Fight Mom star, although she hasn’t said it outright, seems to know it. That much was clear during fight week ahead of UFC on ESPN 2, as the Philly card is properly entitled. That much was also clear after the win over Poland’s Kowalkiewicz, who had called Waterson an “idol” of hers heading into the bout.
Speaking to reporters including Cageside Press backstage at the Wells Fargo Center, Waterson wasn’t sure if the win was the best performance of her career. “I really did want to get a finish,” she said. But on the flip side, “I do feel like I was able to get out there and eliminate all the nerves that come with walking out to the cage.”
Waterson spoke highly of her opponent Saturday. “Her takedown defense was a lot better than I anticipated. I anticipated being able to take her down with the forward pressure. But she’s really good at stuffing, coming in, going out. That’s something that we kind of had to ditch, and just figure out what was working and go with that.”
Waterson proved able to adapt, and later did manage to get the fight to the ground. And in the end, get the unanimous decision win. Now, it’s on to a title shot if Waterson can prove her case over that of the winner of Nina Ansaroff vs. Tatiana Suarez.
‘The Karate Hottie’ laid out her case Saturday. “The case is I’ve been in the top ten a lot longer than both of them have. I’ve fought all the top girls, and I think that my chance is next.”
Waterson would love to be on hand when Rose Namajunas defends her title against Jessica Andrade at UFC 237 in just a few month’s time. “If the UFC wants to take me to Rio, I would love to go to Rio! Take me out there. It would be a great night for sure. Definitely if I’m not in Rio in person, I’ll be watching that fight very closely.”
Watch the full UFC Philadelphia post-fight press scrum with Michelle Waterson above, featuring a cameo from her Cookie Boss daughter.