Back in the winner’s enclosure, former Invicta FC atomweight champion, ‘The Karate Hottie’ Michelle Waterson has plans to finally mint herself as a strawweight champion in the UFC – edging closer to that goal with last night’s close split judging win over Angela ‘Overkill’ Hill.

Taking main event honours at UFC Fight Night Vegas 10, Waterson scored her first Octagon win of the year, following a razor-thin decision loss to inaugural division titleholder, Carla Esparza at a UFC Fight Night Jacksonville event in May. Taking a 49-46, 48-47, and a 47-48 split decision win, Waterson got out of the blocks in the third round, to score an important takedown, before outstriking Hill for the final two frames. 

Speaking at the post-fight press conference following the culmination’s of last night’s main event, Waterson outlined her goal to fight for the strawweight title soon.

The goal has always been to fight for the belt,” Waterson told. “You know, I’ve been chomping away at this for a really long time, and I wanna get there. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m like chipping away and chipping away and I can’t turn around I just gotta keep going forward.

Involved in what was subsequently a strawweight title eliminator opposite former champion, Joanna Jędrzejczyk at UFC Fight Night Tampa last August – Waterson dropped a rather one-sided unanimous decision. 

The defeat marked the #8 ranked contender’s first in three matchups, following prior wins over one-time title challenger, Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Felice Herrig, and Cortney Casey. The winning run added to two prior Octagon victories over Angela Magaña, and Paige VanZant.

A title-eliminator for Waterson in her next outing could pit her with a handful of contenders at 115-pounds. The promotion is currently working on a championship matchup between Zhang Weili and Rose Namajunas, while streaking contender, Tatiana Suarez is on the road to recovery ahead of a return to active competition following a slew of niggling injuries. For Waterson, potential pairings with Nina Ansaroff or an unlikely re-run with Jędrzejczyk are the only two options ahead of her in the rankings, who aren’t currently booked.