Michelle Waterson sees new opportunities at strawweight


Michelle Waterson is hungry to make more noise in the UFC strawweight division.

At UFC on ABC 3, Waterson meets Amanda Lemos, another top-15 contender in the co-main event. The event takes place at UBS Arena in Long Island, NY, which is exciting for Waterson (18-9 MMA, 6-5 UFC) because she can once again perform in front of a crowd.

Waterson is coming off back-to-back fights at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. She picked up a split decision victory over Angela Hill in a Fight of the Night battle at UFC on ESPN+ 35, followed by a unanimous decision loss to Marina Rodriguez at UFC on ESPN 24.” The Karate Hottie hopes to bounce back against Lemos (11-2-1 MMA, 5-2 UFC) in a matchup she anticipates will be a knockout affair.

“She likes to stand up and kick,” Waterson said. “I only fought killers. So we both play for position. The strawweight division is up in the air right now after Carla (Esparza) managed to defeat Rose (Namajunas). So there are a lot of opportunities and we all see it. We are chomping at the bit.

Esparza regained the strawweight title by defeating Namajunas at UFC 274. With the changing of the guard, Waterson believes there’s no better time than the present to race for the title shot.

“I feel like the strawweight division is one of the most stacked divisions on the women’s roster, and so, you really have to be careful with everybody,” Waterson said. “I would say from number 1 to number 15. Weili (Zhang) came to the championship very quickly and that’s because we’re all very hungry. So you just have to make sure you pay attention to everyone on the list.

“But that’s kind of the story of my journey since I’ve been with the UFC. I’ve only fought killers, all top 10 fighters every time, and I accept that. I take the challenge I love it That’s why I fight.

Check out Waterson’s full interview in the video above.

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