Following her victory over Masako Yoshida in April 2010, Michelle “Karate Hottie” Waterson would be out of the sport for just under two years, before returning in January with a win over Diana Rael.
“It was something I felt like I needed to accomplish for myself,” said Waterson. “I was off my whole pregnancy and 10 months after that until I got in the ring. It’s crazy, you kind of get those nerves when you first start fighting and I’d totally forgotten what it was like to get punched in the face.”
Waterson didn’t appear to have much ring rust, thanks to preparations made leading up to the fight.
“I was able to stay composed and get in the zone and able to capitalize on the situations I was in,” said Waterson.
“I knew going in that she was going to try to hold me down like she did in her previous fights, so coach (Greg) Jackson worked with me over and over again on get-ups and as soon I was in that position it wasn’t an unfamiliar position for me.”
As she’s grown into becoming a more complete MMA fighter at Team Jackson-Winkeljohn, Waterson has been able to get back to her roots a bit and use it fuller advantage.
“A couple years ago when I first started, I came from a karate background that I had to put on the back burner because it wasn’t working; it was just too flashy and didn’t work for fighting. Now that I have a foundation as more of an MMA fighter, I’m able to incorporate that karate into it,” she said.
“Now that I have that foundation of fighting, it’s more a power karate rather than just for points or tags.”
Waterson will be able to further test out this integration when she returns on Oct. 6 at Invicta FC 3 in Kansas City, Kan., against Lacey Schuckman.
“It’s a good step up for me and I’m ready to get in there and show the world what I’ve been training for,” Waterson told MMAWeekly.com.
“My mindset right now is that I’m better at all things, because that’s the kind of mindset you need to be at this point in the game, and with my speed I will be able to capitalize on that.”
Looking ahead, Waterson was asked if she feels she can make a run at a full-time MMA career after becoming a mother, to which she said, “I hope so.
“My daughter is young right now and I have the luxury of my mom helping out and helping me raise her and giving me time to train. As long as we understand it’s a passion of mine and it doesn’t conflict with me being a mother, I’d like to fight for at least for another five or six years.”