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Michelle Waterson wants nothing less than to get back at Rose Namajunas by taking her title. Before that can happen, she must first dispatch an equally hungry Karolina Kowalkiewicz, whom she is set to face at UFC on ESPN 2.
Expect “The Karate Hottie” to be firing on all cylinders when she attempts to notch her third straight victory. The numbers below will remind fans of her championship caliber.
10: Years old when she started training karate. She practiced religiously until she earned her black belt. Waterson also has a background in muay Thai, wushu, boxing, wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
0: Amateur fights. Waterson was a former ring girl who made the transition into fighting with the help of Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight Donald Cerrone. In her first bout, which happened on Feb. 16, 2007, she defeated Andrea Miller by unanimous decision.
4: Fights in her first year. After her successful debut, Waterson went 1-2. She beat Jaime Cook but lost to Alicia Gumm and Lynn Alvarez. To this day, 2007 remains her most active year.
80: Seconds was all she needed to beat Tyra Parker in her lone Strikeforce bout. Waterson sank in a tight rear-naked choke, prompting her opponent to tap early in the fight.
15: Seconds is the fastest finish on her resume. At an Extreme Beatdown event, Waterson threw a kick that was caught by Rosary Califano. Her opponent used it to push her towards the fence and land a couple of punches. However, as Calfino was throwing her third, Waterson jumped and latched on a flying armbar. “The Karate Hottie” also possesses a 22-second armbar victory over Krystal Macatol.
5: Wins by armbar. One of which won her the Invicta Fighting Championships atomweight title. In only her second fight for the promotion, Waterson was granted an opportunity to face then champion Jessica Penne, whom she eventually stopped in round 4. She successfully defended the belt against Yasuko Tamada before losing it to Herica Tiburcio. Despite the loss, the veteran was signed by the UFC.
47: Significant strikes against Angela Magana’s eight in her Octagon debut at “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 21 Finale. Waterson displayed some brilliant striking, dictating the pace and frustrating Magana with her movement. The end came in round 3 after Waterson sank in a rear-naked choke.
1: Round was all she needed to beat Paige VanZant in one of her most impressive performances. Prior to that bout, VanZant had lost only once in five fights, and that was to current UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas. However, Waterson ran over her and eventually got the tap with a rear-naked choke.
33: Years of age. Waterson was born on Jan. 6, 1986 to an American father and a Thai mother. She was originally from Aurora, Colorado, but now fights out of Albuquerque, New Mexico.