Thankfully, Waterson accomplished that task with her TKO win over Yasuko Tamada this past September at Invicta FC 8.
“It had been a long time since I’d been in the cage after I fought Jessica (Penne), but we prepared the right way and I had stayed in the gym after that fight, so I felt good,” Waterson told MMAWeekly.com. “It was a good win for me.
“Everything basically we worked on I was able to do. That’s always a good thing.”
When asked how it felt to defend her title for the first time, Waterson replied, “It’s definitely a relief. That was the biggest thing for me, that I come out and make a statement and make people believe in the champ, believe that I’m an actual champion for Invicta.”
Originally Cris “Cyborg” Justino was going to headline Invicta FC 10 on Friday night, but was forced off the card due to injury, pushing Waterson’s bout into the main event. Being champion, Waterson knows headlining a show just comes with the territory.
“It gives time for me to just relax myself and keep my nerves under control, but I definitely would rather get it over and watch everybody else,” she said. “But it is what it is. Being champ and headlining the card is something you’ve got to deal with.”
Waterson (12-3) will look to defend her title for a second time Friday night in Houston, when she takes on Herica Tiburcio (8-2).
“She was supposed to fight in November, but her visa fell through, so she’s obviously going to be in shape,” Waterson said of Tiburcio. “She’s a submission specialist with the majority of her wins coming by submission, but we’ll see if she gets that far. I’m not looking to take it to the ground.
“It’s not that I’m uncomfortable on the ground, but if she wants to take it to the ground, she’s going to have to work for it.”
Having taken the steps she’s needed to establish herself not only as a champion, but also as one of the best atomweight fighters in the world, Waterson wants to continue to better herself next year.
“Right now my eyes are just on this fight,” said Waterson.
“(Invicta FC owner Shannon Knapp) has done a great job with getting me out there and continuing my progress as a fighter. With each fight I get better, and will try to display something new each time.”