Following an 18-month lay off ‘The Karate Hottie’, Michelle Waterson, made a triumphant return to the Octagon at UFC Sacramento on Saturday, getting a marquee main event win over Paige VanZant.
It took Waterson just over three minutes of the opening round until she was able to take control of VanZant’s back and choke her with a rear naked choke, spoiling the Team Alpha Male’s homecoming in California.
In the build up to the fight Waterson had made remarks with regards to PVZ’s apparent lack of experience which caught on fire with the media but took the opportunity to clarify her comments during the post fight press conference.
“I’m not one to disrespect any fighters,” Waterson said. “But I am also trying to be more outspoken and honest with myself when I answer questions. And so, I didn’t mean it as disrespect. I meant it just as an honest answer, coming from somebody’s that been doing martial arts for 20 years and fighting professionally for 10 years. And she just hasn’t.”
A big win like this should mean bigger, more higher profile fights as Waterson begins her push up the ranks of the UFC’s strawweight division, but she’s also happy to sit back and wait for the UFC to approach her with the her next opponent.
“The year and a half (off) really allowed me to become comfortable in my skin and know how I am I as a fighter, and to know that this is where I belong,” she said. “I don’t need to force anything.”
As for the young VanZant, she took the loss on the chin, is already focused on the areas of her game that require improvement and her goal to obtain a UFC championship one day remains steadfast.
VanZant said: “I was meant for the spotlight, and I’m going to continue to be in the spotlight. I will be back, and I’m going to have the belt one day. I’m 22 years old. I have a long time, so I have the best team in the world. I’ll be back.”