Michelle Waterson (born January 6, 1986) is an American mixed martial artist and model who competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). She is the former Invicta FC Atomweight Champion. Between 2013–2014 she was ranked the #1 women's atomweight fighter in the world. As of May 21, 2020, she is #8 in the UFC women's strawweight rankings.
Waterson interviewed after UFC 229
|Born||Michelle Eileen Waterson|
January 6, 1986
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.
|Other names||The Karate Hottie|
|Height||5 ft 3 in (1.60 m)|
|Weight||115 lb (52 kg; 8.2 st)|
Strawweight (2007–2012, 2015–present)
|Reach||62 in (157 cm)|
|Style||Karate, Muay Thai, BJJ|
|Fighting out of||Albuquerque, New Mexico|
|Team||Jackson Wink MMA Academy|
|Rank||Black belt in American Freestyle Karate |
Brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
Born in Colorado Springs and raised in Aurora, Waterson is of Caucasian and Thai descent. She began her modeling career in 2004 after she graduated from Aurora Central High School. She then attended the University of Denver until she realized she wanted to fight for a career.
Early martial arts careerEdit
Waterson rose to fame as a contestant on the Muay Thai-themed Fight Girls reality show on the Oxygen television network. She was also featured as one of the fighters in the MTV/MTV2 reality show Bully Beatdown.
Professional mixed martial arts careerEdit
Having made the transition from ring girl to fighter with the help of Donald Cerrone, Waterson made her MMA debut on February 16, 2007, at Ring of Fire 28: Evolution against Andrea Miller, winning the fight by unanimous decision. She made her debut without having any amateur fights.
Waterson faced Karina Taylor at Duke City MMA Series 1 on March 1, 2009. She won the fight by armbar submission in the first round. There was some controversy with this fight because Taylor did not tap out to the armbar.
Waterson faced the debuting Rosary Califano at EB - Beatdown at 4 Bears 6 and won by submission due to a flying armbar in just 15 seconds.
Invicta Fighting ChampionshipsEdit
Waterson faced Lacey Schuckman at Invicta FC 3: Penne vs. Sugiyama on October 6, 2012. After three back and forth rounds, Waterson defeated Schuckman via split decision. The bout was named Fight of the Night.
Waterson challenged for the Invicta FC Atomweight Championship when she faced Jessica Penne in the main event of Invicta FC 5: Penne vs. Waterson on April 5, 2013. Waterson won the fight via armbar submission in the fourth round to become the Invicta FC Atomweight Champion. On September 6, 2014, Waterson successfully defended her championship against Yasuko Tamada in the main event of Invicta FC 8 via TKO in the third round.
Ultimate Fighting ChampionshipEdit
On April 28, 2015, it was reported that Waterson had officially signed with the UFC and was expected to compete in the Women's Strawweight division. Waterson made her promotional debut against Angela Magaña on July 12, 2015, at The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale. She won the fight via submission in the third round.
After over a year-and-a-half away from the sport due to injuries, Waterson returned in December 2016 to face Paige VanZant in the main event at UFC on Fox 22. She won the fight via technical submission due to a rear naked choke in the first round. The win also earned Waterson her first Performance of the Night bonus award.
Waterson fought Rose Namajunas on April 15, 2017, at UFC on Fox 24. She lost via rear naked choke. Waterson faced Tecia Torres on December 2, 2017, at UFC 218. She lost the fight by unanimous decision.
Waterson faced Cortney Casey at UFC on Fox 29 on April 14, 2018. She won the fight via split decision. Waterson next faced Felice Herrig on October 6, 2018, at UFC 229. She won the fight via unanimous decision.
Waterson was scheduled to face Carla Esparza on April 11, 2020 at UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Harris. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was eventually postponed and the bout eventually took place on May 9, 2020 at UFC 249. She lost the fight via split decision.
Waterson was scheduled to meet Angela Hill on August 22, 2020 at UFC on ESPN 15. However, due to some personal reasons on Waterson’s side, the bout was moved three weeks later to UFC Fight Night 177. She won the fight via split decision. This fight earned her the Fight of the Night award. After the fight, Waterson was awarded her BJJ brown belt in the octagon from her coach, Gracie Barra's Rafael 'Barata' Freitas.
Championships and accomplishmentsEdit
Mixed martial artsEdit
- Invicta FC
- Women's MMA Awards
- AwakeningFighters.com WMMA Awards
- Ultimate Fighting Championship
Waterson is married to former U.S. Armed Forces amateur boxing champion Joshua Gomez. On September 16, 2010, Waterson announced that she was pregnant with her first child and recently engaged. She gave birth to a daughter on March 18, 2011.
On June 24, 2014, she appeared on American Ninja Warrior but failed to qualify when she fell on the first obstacle.
|2010||MacGruber||Club Babe #1|
|2011||Fright Night||Vamp #2|
Mixed martial arts recordEdit
|Professional record breakdown|
|26 matches||18 wins||8 losses|
|Win||18–8||Angela Hill||Decision (split)||UFC Fight Night: Waterson vs. Hill||September 12, 2020||5||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Loss||17–8||Carla Esparza||Decision (split)||UFC 249||May 9, 2020||3||5:00||Jacksonville, Florida, United States|
|Loss||17–7||Joanna Jędrzejczyk||Decision (unanimous)||UFC Fight Night: Joanna vs. Waterson||October 12, 2019||5||5:00||Tampa, Florida, United States|
|Win||17–6||Karolina Kowalkiewicz||Decision (unanimous)||UFC on ESPN: Barboza vs. Gaethje||March 30, 2019||3||5:00||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Win||16–6||Felice Herrig||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 229||October 6, 2018||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||15–6||Cortney Casey||Decision (split)||UFC on Fox: Poirier vs. Gaethje||April 14, 2018||3||5:00||Glendale, Arizona, United States|
|Loss||14–6||Tecia Torres||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 218||December 2, 2017||3||5:00||Detroit, Michigan, United States|
|Loss||14–5||Rose Namajunas||Submission (rear-naked choke)||UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Reis||April 15, 2017||2||2:47||Kansas City, Missouri, United States|
|Win||14–4||Paige VanZant||Technical Submission (rear-naked choke)||UFC on Fox: VanZant vs. Waterson||December 17, 2016||1||3:21||Sacramento, California, United States||Performance of the Night.|
|Win||13–4||Angela Magaña||Submission (rear-naked choke)||The Ultimate Fighter: American Top Team vs. Blackzilians Finale||July 12, 2015||3||2:38||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Return to Strawweight.|
|Loss||12–4||Hérica Tibúrcio||Submission (guillotine choke)||Invicta FC 10: Waterson vs. Tiburcio||December 5, 2014||3||1:06||Houston, Texas, United States||Lost the Invicta FC Atomweight Championship. Fight of the Night.|
|Win||12–3||Yasuko Tamada||TKO (knee and punches)||Invicta FC 8: Waterson vs. Tamada||September 6, 2014||3||4:58||Kansas City, Missouri, United States||Defended the Invicta FC Atomweight Championship.|
|Win||11–3||Jessica Penne||Submission (armbar)||Invicta FC 5: Penne vs. Waterson||April 5, 2013||4||2:31||Kansas City, Missouri, United States||Won the Invicta FC Atomweight Championship.|
|Win||10–3||Lacey Schuckman||Decision (split)||Invicta FC 3: Penne vs. Sugiyama||October 6, 2012||3||5:00||Kansas City, Kansas, United States||Atomweight debut. Fight of the Night.|
|Win||9–3||Diana Rael||Submission (rear-naked choke)||Jackson's MMA Series 7||January 21, 2012||1||2:12||Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States|
|Win||8–3||Masako Yoshida||TKO (punches)||Crowbar MMA: Spring Brawl||April 24, 2010||1||4:17||Fargo, North Dakota, United States|
|Win||7–3||Rosary Califano||Submission (flying armbar)||EB - Beatdown at 4 Bears 6||February 13, 2010||1||0:15||New Town, North Dakota, United States|
|Loss||6–3||Elena Reid||TKO (punches)||Apache Gold: Extreme Beatdown||April 11, 2009||2||1:50||Phoenix, Arizona, United States|
|Win||6–2||Karina Taylor||Technical Submission (armbar)||Duke City MMA Series 1||March 14, 2009||1||2:36||Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States|
|Win||5–2||Tyra Parker||Submission (rear-naked choke)||Strikeforce: Payback||October 3, 2008||1||1:20||Denver, Colorado, United States|
|Win||4–2||Krystal Macatol||Submission (armbar)||SCA: Bike n Brawl 2||August 23, 2008||1||0:22||Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States|
|Win||3–2||Thricia Poovey||TKO (corner stoppage)||KOTC: Badlands||July 12, 2008||2||5:00||Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States|
|Loss||2–2||Lynn Alvarez||Submission (guillotine choke)||Ring of Fire 31: Undisputed||December 1, 2007||1||1:19||Broomfield, Colorado, United States|
|Win||2–1||Jaime Cook||Submission (armbar)||Ring of Fire 30: Domination||September 15, 2007||1||1:33||Broomfield, Colorado, United States|
|Loss||1–1||Alicia Gumm||Decision (unanimous)||RMBB: Battle of the Arts||June 30, 2007||2||5:00||Denver, Colorado, United States|
|Win||1–0||Andrea Miller||Decision (unanimous)||Ring of Fire 28: Evolution||February 16, 2007||3||3:00||Broomfield, Colorado, United States|
0 wins , 1 loss, 0 draws
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Michelle Waterson.|
| 2nd Invicta FC Atomweight Champion
April 5, 2013 - December 5, 2014