Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Michelle Waterson Slotted for October

Michelle Waterson
Michelle Waterson Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

A strawweight headliner rife with title implications will headline the UFC’s October 12 card — and will pit Michelle Waterson and Joanna Jedrzejczyk against one another.

Michelle Waterson didn’t get the strawweight title fight she was campaigning for, but the ‘Karate Hottie’ has been booked into a fight that could be her ticket to a challenge for the belt. On Wednesday, in the midst of UFC 239’s Fight Week festivities, word broke that Waterson will face Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the main event of the UFC’s October 12 card. ESPN was first to report the booking.

The card does not currently have a venue or location announced. It will serve, however, as UFC Fight Night 161, or UFC on ESPN+ 19, for those keeping count.

Waterson, a former Invicta FC atomweight champ, is currently riding the best streak of her UFC tenure. The 33-year old has won three straight, over Cortney Casey, Felice Herrig, and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, the latter at UFC Philadelphia this past March. Overall, Waterson (17–6) is 5-2 in the UFC. She has also been a media darling for the company, making cross-over appearances, working as an analyst, and appearing in the documentary Fight Mom.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk (15–3) was once the most feared woman in the 115lb division. She won the strawweight title from Carla Esparza at UFC 185, and defended the belt five times, unparalleled in the weight class. It seemed as if Jedrzejczyk, who adopted the moniker Joanna Champion, was set to surpass Ronda Rousey as the most dominant female champion of all time in the UFC — right up until Rose Namajunas derailed her, then beat her a second time in a rematch.

Jedrzejczyk bounced back at UFC Calgary in 2018 by defeating Tecia Torres, then tried her hand at flyweight, only to lose to Valentina Shevchenko in a bid for the vacant 125lb title. She has not fought since that bout at UFC 231 in December.

No other fights have been revealed for the October 12 event.