Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson returns to the octagon this weekend at the main event against Angela Hill for UFC on ESPN 35 live from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Waterson admits the grind of being a longtime strawweight contender has taken a toll on her.
“I kind of left with a bit of a salty taste in my mouth after my last fight, so just falling in love with the training, falling in love with learning and growing and getting better and the grit and the grind of it all has been refreshing,” Waterson told reporters.
“So to be bumped up to main event just adds to that refreshment, and it’s exciting. I’m excited to go five rounds with a game opponent like Angela.”
This will be Waterson’s second fight during the pandemic.
Waterson admitted the fanless environment has not been easy to adapt to and has caused her to hesitate in her execution.
“Having it that intimate and being able to listen to, like, the conversations can sometimes be a negative, so we focused a lot in this camp on just being able to focus on my corner and trusting in myself and going in there and taking the fight, not leaving it up to the judges.”
Waterson stays focused even after the change from a three-round to a five-round fight.
“My end game is to fight for the championship belt, and that’s a five-round fight, so we always train for five-round fights, and we’re ready for it,” Waterson said
“The gameplan is to win the fight, regardless of where it goes,” Waterson said. “But also, I’m really eager to get in there and put some damage on. I think I’ve gotten away from that just under the pressure of trying to climb the ladder and just trying to win, and forgetting about what the objective of fighting is. The purpose of it is to put the most damage on the other person. I’m excited to get in there and put some damage on her.”
“The ultimate goal is getting my hand raised,” Waterson said. “As far as proving something here or there, I think that I’ve been fighting for so long, and it’s funny because you can kind of get caught in this routine of fighting, and for me, it’s kind of weird how it comes full circle where it’s really exciting to just get in there and fight.
“I don’t care for it to be technical. I don’t care for it to be pretty. It probably will turn into a mess, but that’s what fights are sometimes, and so I’m looking forward to it being a hot mess.”