Michelle Waterson

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Michelle Waterson
Michelle Waterson smiling UFC 229.jpg
Waterson interviewed after UFC 229
BornMichelle Eileen Waterson
(1986-01-06) January 6, 1986 (age 34)
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.
Other namesThe Karate Hottie
Height5 ft 3 in (1.60 m)[1]
Weight115 lb (52 kg; 8.2 st)
DivisionAtomweight (2012–2015)
Strawweight (2007–2012, 2015–present)
Reach62 in (157 cm)[2]
StyleKarate, Muay Thai, BJJ
Fighting out ofAlbuquerque, New Mexico
TeamJackson Wink MMA Academy
RankBlack belt in American Freestyle Karate[3]
Brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu[4] under Rafael de Freitas and Roberto Alencar[5]
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout3
By submission9
By decision6
By knockout1
By submission3
By decision4
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

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.[6]As of November 9, she is #7 in the UFC women's strawweight rankings.[7]

Early life[edit]

Born in Colorado Springs and raised in Aurora, Waterson is of Caucasian and Thai descent.[8] She began her modeling career in 2004 after she graduated from Aurora Central High School.[9] She then attended the University of Denver until she realized she wanted to fight for a career.[10]

Early martial arts career[edit]

Her early interest in gymnastics, and inability to pay for classes, led her to karate at the age of ten.[11]

Waterson holds a black belt in American Freestyle karate and has also trained in Wushu, Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, boxing and wrestling.[12]

Waterson rose to fame as a contestant on the Muay Thai-themed Fight Girls reality show on the Oxygen television network.[13] She was also featured as one of the fighters in the MTV/MTV2 reality show Bully Beatdown.[14]

Professional mixed martial arts career[edit]

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.[15] She made her debut without having any amateur fights.[16]

She faced Freestyle Cage Fighting champion Lynn Alvarez at Ring of Fire 31: Undisputed on December 1, 2007, but lost by submission in the first round.[15]

Waterson made her Strikeforce debut against Tyra Parker at Strikeforce: Payback on October 3, 2008.[13] She won the fight by rear naked choke submission in the first round.[17]

Waterson faced Karina Taylor at Duke City MMA Series 1 on March 1, 2009.[18] 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.[19]

On April 11, 2009, Waterson fought former WIBA and IFBA Flyweight Boxing Champion Elena Reid at Apache Gold: Extreme Beatdown.[20] Reid won the fight by TKO in the second round.[21]

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.[22]

She faced Masako Yoshida at Crowbar MMA: Spring Brawl on April 24, 2010.[23] Waterson won the fight by TKO in the first round.[24]

Waterson returned to MMA on January 21, 2012. She faced Diana Rael at Jackson's MMA Series 7[25] and won the fight by rear-naked choke in the first round.[26]

Invicta Fighting Championships[edit]

Waterson faced Lacey Schuckman at Invicta FC 3: Penne vs. Sugiyama on October 6, 2012.[27] After three back and forth rounds, Waterson defeated Schuckman via split decision.[28] The bout was named Fight of the Night.[29]

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.[30][31][32] Waterson won the fight via armbar submission in the fourth round to become the Invicta FC Atomweight Champion.[33][34] 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.[35]

Waterson next headlined Invicta FC 10 on December 5, 2014, in Houston against Brazilian Hérica Tibúrcio.[36] She lost the fight via a guillotine choke submission in the third round.[37]

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

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.[38] She won the fight via submission in the third round.[39]

Waterson was next expected to meet Tecia Torres at UFC 194.[40] However, she was forced to pull out of the bout on November 24, 2015, citing a knee injury.[41]

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.[42] 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.[43]

Waterson fought Rose Namajunas on April 15, 2017, at UFC on Fox 24.[44] She lost via rear naked choke. Waterson faced Tecia Torres on December 2, 2017, at UFC 218.[45] She lost the fight by unanimous decision.[46]

Waterson faced Cortney Casey at UFC on Fox 29 on April 14, 2018.[47] She won the fight via split decision.[48] Waterson next faced Felice Herrig on October 6, 2018, at UFC 229.[49] She won the fight via unanimous decision.[50]

Waterson fought Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC on ESPN 2 on March 30, 2019.[51] She won the fight via unanimous decision.[52]

Waterson faced Joanna Jędrzejczyk on October 12, 2019 at UFC on ESPN+ 19.[53] She lost the fight via unanimous decision.[54]

Waterson was scheduled to face Carla Esparza on April 11, 2020 at UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Harris.[55] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was eventually postponed[56] and the bout eventually took place on May 9, 2020 at UFC 249.[57] She lost the fight via split decision.[58]

Waterson was scheduled to meet Angela Hill on August 22, 2020 at UFC on ESPN 15.[59] However, due to some personal reasons on Waterson’s side, the bout was moved three weeks later to UFC Fight Night 177.[60] She won the fight via split decision.[61] This fight earned her the Fight of the Night award.[62] After the fight, Waterson was awarded her BJJ brown belt in the octagon from her coach, Gracie Barra's Rafael 'Barata' Freitas.[63]

Waterson is sheduled to face Amanda Ribas on January 23, 2021 at UFC 257.[64]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Waterson is married to former U.S. Armed Forces amateur boxing champion Joshua Gomez.[69][70] On September 16, 2010, Waterson announced that she was pregnant with her first child and recently engaged.[71] She gave birth to a daughter on March 18, 2011.[72]

Media appearances[edit]

In 2008, Knockouts released a calendar featuring her.[73]

She is featured in the music video for Head Crusher, the first single from the Endgame album by the American Metal band Megadeth.[74]

On June 24, 2014, she appeared on American Ninja Warrior but failed to qualify when she fell on the first obstacle.

She was also featured on Bully Beatdown. She was the central character of the 2016 documentary Fight Mom.[75][76]

In 2017, Waterson competed on the special mini-series for the MTV reality show The Challenge titled Champs vs. Stars.[77] That same year, she was featured in The Body Issue.[78]

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
2010 MacGruber Club Babe #1
2011 Fright Night Vamp #2
2012 Jackie Chinese waitress

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Professional record breakdown
26 matches 18 wins 8 losses
By knockout 3 1
By submission 9 3
By decision 6 4
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
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


Kickboxing record[edit]

Kickboxing record

Legend:   Win   Loss   Draw/No contest   Notes

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Fight Card - The Ultimate Fighter Finale American Top Team vs. Blackzilians". UFC.com. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  2. ^ "Michelle Waterson UFC Profile". UFC.com. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  3. ^ "Michelle Waterson - Official UFC Fighter Profile". UFC.com. Archived from the original on July 20, 2015. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  4. ^ Markey, Ross (2020-09-13). "Michelle Waterson Manages Split Decision Win Over Angela Hill - UFC Vegas 10 Highlights". LowKickMMA.com. Retrieved 2020-09-13.
  5. ^ @karatehottiemma (September 14, 2020). ""This was definitely unexpected! So honored to wear this brown belt under @baratagb with @tussagb and @graciebarranm (...)"". Retrieved October 4, 2020 – via Instagram.
  6. ^ "Fighter Profile : Michelle Waterson". www.fightmatrix.com. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  7. ^ "Rankings | UFC". www.ufc.com. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
  8. ^ "Michelle Waterson Biography". Playerswiki. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  9. ^ "Michelle Waterson On The Cover of DSport Magazine". MMAFightGirls.com. Retrieved 2009-09-11.
  10. ^ http://www.ufc.com/fighter/michelle-waterson
  11. ^ JRE Clips (2019-05-28), How Michelle Waterson Started in MMA | Joe Rogan, retrieved 2019-06-04
  12. ^ "Exclusive Interview With Michelle Waterson". MMARising.com. Retrieved 2009-10-04.
  13. ^ a b "'Karate Hottie' Michelle Waterson readies for Strikeforce debut". MMAMania.com. 2008-10-02. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
  14. ^ "Michelle "The Karate Hottie" Waterson". MTV.com.
  15. ^ a b ""KARATE HOTTIE" RETURNS TO RING OF FIRE". ROFMMA.com. 2007-11-28. Archived from the original on 2016-01-01. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
  16. ^ UFC ON FOX (2017-04-11), Michelle "The Karate Hottie" Waterson explains how she went from ring girl to fighter | UFC ON FOX, retrieved 2017-04-12
  17. ^ ""Strikeforce: Payback" live updates and official results". MMAjunkie.com. 2008-10-03. Archived from the original on 2009-02-21. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
  18. ^ "Duke City MMA Series 1". Sherdog.com. 2009-03-04. Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
  19. ^ ""Series 1" shows serious strengths First official Saenz-Jackson's card a hit in the Duke City; Barreras beats down Barlow in main go". NewMexicoCage.com. 2009-03-15. Archived from the original on July 22, 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
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  21. ^ "Tuchscherer, "Baby Doll" Reid and Forbes win at Extreme Beatdown". MMAjunkie.com. 2009-04-12. Archived from the original on 2010-01-02. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
  22. ^ "Michelle Waterson Wins At Extreme Beatdown 6". MMARising.com. Retrieved 2010-02-21.
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  25. ^ "Michelle Waterson Returns To Face Diana Rael In January". MMARising.com. 2011-11-18. Retrieved 2011-11-18.
  26. ^ "Michelle Waterson Submits Diana Rael In Jackson's Headliner". MMARising.com. 2012-01-21. Retrieved 2012-01-21.
  27. ^ "Michelle Waterson vs Lacey Schuckman Agreed For Invicta FC 3". MMARising.com. 2012-08-15. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
  28. ^ "Invicta FC 3 Results: Jessica Penne Captures Atomweight Title". MMARising.com. 2012-10-06. Retrieved 2012-10-10.
  29. ^ "Five Fighters Earn Bonuses At Invicta Fighting Championships 3". MMARising.com. 2012-10-07. Retrieved 2012-10-10.
  30. ^ "Invicta FC 5 Targeted For April 13 In Cali, Champ Penne Meets Karate Hottie". MMAjunkie.com. 2013-01-10. Archived from the original on 2013-04-15. Retrieved 2013-01-10.
  31. ^ "Jessica Penne vs Michelle Waterson Announced For Invicta FC 5". MMARising.com. 2013-01-10. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  32. ^ "INVICTA FC BRINGS WOMEN'S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLEHEADER TO AMERISTAR CASINO HOTEL KANSAS CITY FRIDAY, APRIL 5". InvictaFC.com. 2013-02-11. Archived from the original on 2013-02-26. Retrieved 2013-02-20.
  33. ^ "'Cyborg' Savages Muxlow, 'Karate Hottie' Crowned Via Dramatic Submission at Invicta FC 5". Sherdog.com. 2013-04-05. Retrieved 2013-04-12.
  34. ^ "Invicta FC 5 Results: Michelle Waterson, Barb Honchak Win Titles". MMARising.com. 2013-04-06. Retrieved 2013-04-12.
  35. ^ "Invicta FC 8 Results: Waterson Batters Tamada, Kankaanpaa Submits Eggink". CombatPress.com. 2014-09-06. Retrieved 2014-09-09.
  36. ^ "Cristiane 'Cyborg' Justino Injured, Michelle Waterson vs. Herica Tiburcio Now Headlines Invicta FC 10". CombatPress.com. November 1, 2014. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  37. ^ "Invicta FC 10 Results: Herica Tiburcio Stuns Michelle Waterson; Wins Title". fansided.com. 2014-12-05.
  38. ^ Shaun Al-Shatti. "Ex-Invicta champ Michelle Waterson signs with UFC". MMA Fighting.
  39. ^ Steven Marrocco (2015-07-12). "TUF 21 Finale results: Michelle Waterson submits Angela Magana in UFC debut". mmajunkie.com.
  40. ^ Okamoto, Brett (2015-08-31). "Fight between Tecia Torres and Michelle Waterson added to UFC 194". ESPN. Retrieved 2015-09-22.
  41. ^ Dann Stupp and John Morgan (2015-11-24). "Super card takes a hit: Michelle Waterson out of UFC 194". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
  42. ^ "UFC on Fox: VanZant vs. Waterson". Ultimate Fighting Championship. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  43. ^ Staff (2016-12-17). "UFC on FOX 22 bonuses: Leslie Smith vs. Irene Aldana nabs 'Fight of the Night' honors". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2016-12-17.
  44. ^ Staff (2017-02-11). "UFC heads to Kansas City for first time for UFC on FOX 24". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2017-02-11.
  45. ^ "Tecia Torres vs. Michelle Waterson Joins Stacked UFC 218 Lineup | MMAWeekly.com". www.mmaweekly.com. Retrieved 2017-12-01.
  46. ^ "UFC 218 results: Cardio pays dividends for Tecia Torres in decision win over Michelle Waterson". MMAjunkie. 2017-12-03. Retrieved 2017-12-03.
  47. ^ "Michelle Waterson vs. Cortney Casey at UFC Glendale, Aljamain Sterling vs. Brett Johns at UFC Atlantic City Official | Cagesidepress.com". www.cagesidepress.com. Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  48. ^ "UFC on FOX 29 results: Resilient Michelle Waterson survives, outpoints Cortney Casey in nail-biter". MMAjunkie. 2018-04-15. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  49. ^ Adam Hill (2018-08-09). "5 bouts added to McGregor-headlined UFC 229 card in Las Vegas". reviewjournal.com. Retrieved 2018-08-09.
  50. ^ "UFC 229 play-by-play and live results". MMAjunkie. 2018-10-06. Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  51. ^ Jay Anderson (2019-01-08). "Michelle Waterson vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz Added to UFC Philadelphia". cagesidepress.com. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  52. ^ "UFC Philadelphia: Michelle Waterson picks up huge win over Karolina Kowalkiewicz". MMA Junkie. 2019-03-31. Retrieved 2019-03-31.
  53. ^ "Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Michelle Waterson agree to Oct. 12 headliner at UFC on ESPN+19". MMA Junkie. 2019-07-03. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  54. ^ Doherty, Dan (2019-10-12). "UFC Tampa Results: Joanna Jedrzejczyk Returns to Form Against Tough Michelle Waterson". Cageside Press. Retrieved 2019-10-13.
  55. ^ Anderson, Jay (2020-02-08). "UFC Announces Dates for Portland, Oregon and Oklahoma City Events". Cageside Press. Retrieved 2020-02-09.
  56. ^ Nolan King and John Morgan (2020-03-15). "UFC postpones three events amid growing coronavirus outbreak". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-03-16.
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  60. ^ Davies, Harry (2020-08-13). "Report: Michelle Waterson vs. Angela Hill off UFC Vegas 7, rescheduled for September 12". Bloody Elbow. Retrieved 2020-08-14.
  61. ^ Doherty, Dan (2020-09-12). "UFC Vegas 10 Results: Michelle Waterson Outlasts Angela Hill, Gets Split Decision". Cageside Press. Retrieved 2020-09-13.
  62. ^ a b Andrew Ravens (2020-09-12). "UFC on ESPN+ 35 Bonuses: Two Fighters Nab Performance Checks, FOTN Honors". mmanews. Retrieved 2020-09-13.
  63. ^ https://jitsmagazine.com/michelle-waterson-earns-bjj-brown-belt-in-victory/
  64. ^ DNA, MMA (2020-11-03). "Michelle Waterson vs. Amanda Ribas toegevoegd aan UFC 257 evenement op 23 januari". MMA DNA. Retrieved 2020-11-04.
  65. ^ Mitchell, Rew (2014-01-09). "WMMA 2013 Awards". Awakeningfighters.com. Retrieved 2015-06-12.
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  69. ^ Azharie, Farah (June 1, 2017). "UFC's Michelle Waterson wows Malaysian fans outside the octagon". New Straits Times. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  70. ^ Wright, Rick (January 21, 2012). "Waterson, Fiancé A Perfect Match". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  71. ^ "WATERSON TAKING A BREAK TO START HER FAMILY". MMAWeekly.com. 2010-09-16. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
  72. ^ "To build her star power, Michelle Waterson needs to win". ESPN.com. 2017-04-11. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
  73. ^ "Michelle Waterson Featured in Knockout Haircut's 2008 Calendar". MMAFightGirls.com. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
  74. ^ "Michelle Waterson Featured In Megadeth's "Head Crusher" Video". Noisecreep. Retrieved 2009-09-17.
  75. ^ "Fight Mom". IMDB.
  76. ^ "Michelle Wateson: Fight Mom". Uninterrupted.
  77. ^ Russian, Ale (2017-10-11). "Cast Revealed! Josh Murray, Shawn Johnson and More Stars to Compete in MTV's The Challenge: Champs vs. Stars". People. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
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External links[edit]

Preceded by
Jessica Penne
2nd Invicta FC Atomweight Champion
April 5, 2013 - December 5, 2014
Succeeded by
Hérica Tibúrcio