I want to congratulate the "Karate Hottie" on her submission win this past weekend at the historic Golden 1 Center at UFC Sacramento against Paige "12 Gauge" VanZant.
I had no doubt Waterson would turn it up inside that cage. She is the same fighter to me now as she was before when she became the Invicta FC's Atomweight Champion. This also includes her journey before and after that belt was put around her waist.
Waterson is the REAL DEAL and her injuries have not changed.
Michelle looked patient with Paige and made everything look so easy. It was clean and I will probably be talking about this submission for a while...
In my opinion, Waterson deserves nothing more than but the top five components in the strawweight division. When I think about who could potentially be her next opponent these 3 fighters come to mind...
"THUG" ROSE NAMAJUNAS (6-3)
This matchup makes the most sense because of the overall skillset Rose brings to the table. Her ground game is superb as well as her standup game. They both defeated VanZant in the same fashion with submission and fought some of the same fighters while coming out victorious.
Both fighters are rather tenacious and crave to fight only the best.
They are the best right now and I can see this happening at UFC Denver on January 28th, given that is where Namajunas is from. ALSO if Michelle wants to pull a Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone and fight right after your last THIS can happen. THIS IS THE FIGHT I WANT. Good thing Rose Namajunas is down for it as well.
CARLA "THE COOKIE MONSTER" ESPARZA (12-3)
The last we saw Esparza was when she fought against Juliana Lima (9-3) back in April of this year and she dominated with a unanimous decision in the end. Injuries happened in-between then and now, however, she is ready. She claims she wants a tune-up fight to ease her way back in however, Waterson is much more than a tune-up fight.
Carla's main skill is her wrestling and she happened to take down Namajunas back in the TUF Finale days and was rather impressive to become the first women's strawweight champion of the UFC.
Given everything, she is still ranked #3 in her division and she has been hungry for a fight to be scheduled so it will be interesting to see Michelle's more defensive skills going against someone with the same ground game.
JESSICA "BATE ESTACA" ANDRADE (15-5)
Even though Andrade's specialty is mostly Muay Thai and kickboxing, she is also fantastic on the ground. "Bate Estaca" which translates to "Pile Driver" is strong and very tough. I can see her giving Michelle a challenge with that depending on who is leading the fight first. Jessica has great striking including those elbows and a chin of granite.
It will hard to get her on the ground and keep her there, which is good for Waterson because she usually has an answer for everything. It will be a very intense, smart, and technical fight where both ladies are patient enough to not make a mistake.
We haven't seen Waterson get knocked out before, yet Jessica has knockout power for sure ALONG with a great number of submission wins.
This would be an interesting fight.
The future is looking nothing but bright for Waterson as now the hype train of Paige VanZant is broken. It is time for a new star in the strawweight division and I love to say that she is BACK.
This division better watches out before not everyone was convinced beforehand of a 1st round submission over UFC's superstar. Michelle is a fighter and she always has been.
She is hungry and it is clear nothing is standing in the way of her goals. One day she will be the women's strawweight champion.
MARK MY WORDS.