UFC – Michelle Waterson On Weili vs Joanna: No One Lost That Night!
The last time we saw Michelle Waterson inside the Octagon, it was for a chance to contend for the UFC strawweight title, in the UFC Tampa main event last October. However, despite a gallant effort, she came out second best to Joanna Jedrzejczyk, by way of unanimous decision.
Speaking to MMA Junkie, Waterson admitted that it was the toughest test of her career to date and that she needed some time off to reflect after the fight.
“It took me a while to even build up the courage to rewatch the fight, just because there was so much riding on that fight and the way that it happened – there was a huge let-down for me. I think when you lose, you don’t give yourself enough credit. You only see the loss. It’s not like a scoreboard when it’s like, ‘OK, 80-100, you almost won.’ I know that we went five rounds and they gave those scores, but there’s so much that happens within a fight that the average fan and even the judges [and] commentators don’t see.”
However, Waterson saw the silver lining in the fight. She gave it everything she had in a high caliber matchup. By going five rounds with Joanna, the longest reigning champion of the division’s history, she proved to herself that she belongs in the UFC women’s strawweight picture.
“When I watched the fight back with my husband, I was able to walk away with my head held high,” she said. “I think that there are definitely things I could improve on – there are always things that I could improve on. But after watching the fight, I do know that I belong at the top of the division and I’m literally inches away from that belt. When you’re competing against girls at that high of a caliber, it is just an inch to the left or an inch to the right that will determine whether you win or lose.”
When a contender for the best female fight of all-time went down at UFC 248 between Joanna and Zhang Weili, Waterson was watching. She believes that both women deserve credit for the bout.
“Seeing that war with Joanna and Weili, honestly, I’m incredibly proud of the strawweight division,” she said. “Every time the strawweights fight, we bring it and we put on a show. Regardless of which strawweight you fight, we definitely bring the heat.
“When my husband and I watched the fight between Weili and Joanna, we were so entertained. I was on the edge of my chair the whole time. I felt like I was in the Octagon with them. It was so entertaining. In my opinion, none of those ladies walked away with a loss that night. They both showed the heart of a champion.
“I did edge it to Joanna before they called the scorecards. I can understand why they would give it to Weili because of the amount of damage Joanna took toward the end of the fight. So like I said, going away from that fight I think that both of the ladies win.”
Who would you like to see Michelle Waterson face in her next bout?