It’s safe to say Michelle Waterson isn’t a fan of the official rankings after the No. 7-ranked strawweight was snubbed by UFC President Dana White after he was asked if “The Karate Hottie” was next in line for a title shot.
White stated that the 33-year-old Waterson was ranked “too low” when her name was floated as a possible contender to challenge Jessica Andrade’s throne. The statement left Waterson frustrated and she criticized that she was only ranked seventh considering the competition she’s faced - and beat - in the promotion (via MMAMania.com):
“I love Dana. We have a great relationship, I respect him. I just think he’s really busy, he has a lot on his hands and he has to take care of a lot of fighters. At the end of the day he’s probably given, you know, a breakdown or lineup of the fighters and just a list of the rankings and he talks about the fighters that way.
The women’s 115-pound division has a new champion when Andrade beat former champion Rose Namajunas last month at UFC 337 in Brazil. It has been rumored that the UFC matchmakers may choose to run that fight back and host it in the United States although “Thug Rose” has indicated she may be done with fighting.
Another option for the UFC is the No. 2-ranked Tatiana Suarez who was in action this past weekend at UFC 238 beating the third-ranked Nina Ansaroff via unanimous decision. While Suarez’s performance was not her best, her higher ranking may mean she is given the nod next to challenge for the Brazilian’s belt.
Waterson blasted the UFC rankings and believes she should be next in line for the title before turning her attention to Suarez’s underwhelming performance against Ansaroff.
“In my opinion, if you’re looking at the rankings, the rankings are sh*t. I feel like I have a great case against me especially after what you just said. Going off last performances, now Tatiana is facing people ranked in the top 10 and we see what happens when you start facing higher-ranking girls. The competition becomes more steep. And it’s hard to pop off good solid, dominant performances with higher competition.”
Waterson said she only caught highlights of Suarez’s fight but said her performance over the weekend shows she isn’t ready to challenge for the belt just yet.
“I don’t think it was enough to showcase the she is ready for a championship title fight. From what I’ve heard from all my teammates and coaches back at home, they text me right away and said, ‘You got this in the bank.’ If they make you fight Tatiana, then you got Tatiana, too,” she said. “They see holes in her standup, holes in her ground and holes in her wrestling. And we are ready to take it.”