Good News for the Strawweights: Michelle Waterson Is Finally Returning to Action
In early 2015, former Invicta FC atomweight (105-pound) champion Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson (13-4) signed on the dotted line and became one of the most promising new talents in the then nascent UFC strawweight (115-pound) division. When Waterson won her July 2015 UFC debut against a respectable foe in Angela Magana, her status as a fighter to watch in the growing division became even clearer. Now more than a year removed from that impressive promotional debut, however, Waterson has yet to return to the Octagon.
To refresh: the former Invicta champ was first forced out of a UFC 194 bout with Tecia Torres when she sustained a knee injury in training. Then, her time on the bench was extended by an unfortunate hand injury. Yet finally, Waterson is once again fighting fit, and as such, has officially been pencilled in for a comeback bout later this year. According to MMAJunkie.com she’ll be taking on ever-dangerous SBG Ireland staple Aisling Daly (16-6) when the UFC takes over the Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany on September 3.
When she steps onto the canvas in Hamburg, Waterson will look to build on the momentum of her impressive UFC debut defeat of Magana, and further distance herself from her 2014 Invicta title loss to Herica Tiburcio. More importantly, the long-time Greg Jackson student will look to remind the world of the kind of fighter she is; not just a talented athlete and a threat to many of the game’s top strawweights, but also a well-spoken and telegenic competitor with some real upswing as far as drawing power goes.
Of course, Waterson’s achieving any of this is far from a foregone conclusion. In Daly, she’ll face one of the strawweight division’s most battle-tested veterans, and a fighter with the momentum of a big home turf win over Ericka Almeida in the rear view. Waterson is also likely to surrender a strength advantage to her opponent on fight night. Indeed, when you combine these factors with her long stretches of inactivity, and the possible ring rust that could result from this inactivity, Waterson’s defeating Daly is no certainty.
The important thing, however, is that one of the most promising competitors in the ever-growing strawweight division is finally ready to pick up where she left off after her impressive UFC debut, and if she’s lucky, establish herself as a bona fide contender for Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s well-guarded title. Just one of the many compelling storylines that highlight the UFC’s stacked return to Germany.
The rest of the card, to remind, is highlighted by a light heavyweight bout between Ryan Bader and Ilir Latifi, another light heavyweight bout between Jan Blachowicz and Alexander Gustafsson, and a main-event heavyweight showdown between former champions Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett. These high-profile fights, when combined with the long-awaited return of Michelle Waterson, point to a seriously memorable night for those watching live in Hamburg, and all those tuning in around the world.
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