UFC Long Island: Michelle Waterson Willing to Return to Atomweight, If It’s Worth Her While

As a former atomweight champion in Invicta FC, Michelle Waterson still fields plenty of questions about her old weight class.

In particular, whether there’s a spot for it in the UFC.

Not surprisingly, Waterson (18-9), who returns at UFC Long Island this weekend in a strawweight tilt with Amanda Lemos, feels 105 definitely does belong.

“You guys, if you build it, they will come. The girls are out there, and they just, they want a platform to show the world what they do,” Waterson stated during this week’s UFC Long Island media day. “And there are tons of little feisty girls out there, including myself, that would love to get out there and scrap.”

And that might be the real surprise: Waterson is open to returning to 105 pounds for the right opportunity.

“Introduce the weight, and if it’s worth my while — I keep telling people, if you make me one of the coaches for a TUF show and then let me fight for the belt afterwards, I might consider going down,” Waterson suggested. “But my husband does enjoy me a little thicker — whoopsie!”

Waterson was upbeat, not that she usually isn’t, throughout this week’s media day. She seems thrilled to have fans back for the fight in Long Island, in particular.

“I was really grateful just to be able to fight and have a job throughout the pandemic. But it was a shift,” admitted the fighter known as “The Karate Hottie.” For one, “fighting at the Apex was almost like going into the office, or training at home. It’s just a different feeling. So I’m really looking forward to this Saturday.”

The showdown with Lemos is one that appeals to her as well. “I think stylistically it’s going to lend to Fight of the Night. I am really excited,” Waterson said. “She likes to bite down on her mouthpiece, stand and bang. I think with her style and my style, I’ll be able to display all of my tools.”

Michelle Waterson was the subject of a documentary a few years back called Fight Mom, and her daughter remains a big part of what she does. Like many fighters, Waterson’s approach to the sport changed when her child was born.

“Not only did it change the way I looked at fighting, it changed my life. For the better. Because fighting is dangerous, and if it was something that I was going to do as a career, then I had to make it something worthwhile,” Waterson explained.

“I was raised with the attitude— my dad used to always say don’t talk the talk, walk the walk. Your actions speak louder than words. And I just think what I’m doing here with my UFC career, and reaching for greatness and allowing my daughter to be a part of that journey and having her see not just the good but the bad and the ugly, I think it’s priceless really,” she continued. “Because I think our children need to see us reach for greatness, I think our children, instead of us telling them ‘you can do whatever you want to do in life,’ I think they need to see us strive for that greatness so they can go after what they want in their lives.”

Watch the full UFC Long Island media day scrum with Michelle Waterson above. The event takes place Saturday, July 16, 2022 with the main card kicking off at 2PM ET on ABC.