Former Invicta atomweight champion Michelle Waterson recently lost her belt in a shocking upset to 22-year-old Brazilian Herica Tiburcio at last December’s Invicta FC 10, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that “Karate Hottie’s” career is floundering.
Quite the opposite, in fact, as Ariel Helwani revealed on UFC Tonight that talks are reportedly underway for Waterson to make her way to the UFC to fight in their brand-new women’s strawweight division:
Rumor has it Michelle Waterson AKA ‘The Karate Hottie’ may be coming over to the UFC women’s strawweight division.
— UFC Tonight (@UFCTonight) February 26, 2015
Helwani confirmed that Waterson was indeed still under contract with Invicta, but noted that they have an exceedingly cordial relationship with the UFC. Their Invicta FC 11 this Friday (February 27, 2015) will air on Fight Pass.
Nothing is official just yet, but it’s clear that the move would be mutually beneficial from both sides. Waterson would be seen on an infinitely grander scale while giving the UFC a name personality for their still-growing 115-pound division that features a few stars in champion Carla Esparza, who faces Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the co-main event of March’s UFC 185, Rose Namajunas, Felice Herrig, and Paige VanZant, but could definitely use another marketable female fighter.
A bout with any one of those names would most likely provide a decent amount of draws for “Karate Hottie,” who blends lethal striking and submission skills with a wealth of experience. Waterson could also benefit greatly from not having to cut the additional 10 pounds to make the atomweight limit of 105 pounds, which could also make for some great bouts.
Given her name and championship pedigree, Waterson would most likely need only one or two wins to get a title shot in a division that is still struggling to find its identity after only two months in existence.
It’s safe to say that Waterson would be a blockbuster signing for the UFC. Which contender should she get matched up with first?