by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Fightgirls’ star Michelle Waterson has come a long way towards proving that she’s more than just a reality TV star and model turned mixed martial arts fighter.

Since making her MMA debut earlier this year with a unanimous decision victory over Andrea Miller in February, Waterson has taken her evolution towards becoming a complete fighter very seriously.

Hooking up with Greg Jackson’s camp in Albuquerque, N.M., she continues to develop her skill set with great diligence. Such hard work manifested itself in September when the originally Muay Thai-based Waterson defeated Jaime Cook by arm bar in the first round of their fight.

“I was stoked about that win, because I was working a lot on my ground and I didn’t expect the fight to go to the ground as quick as it did,” exclaimed Waterson of her win over Cook.

“I went to shoot in on her and we got into a battle against the cage and I ended up getting on my back. I had her arm and I was thinking in my head, ‘I could arm bar her right now.’ She went to put her knee on my face to stand up and that’s when I just cranked it.”

Looking to continue to become a true force in women’s MMA, Waterson once again returns to the promotion she’s had great success in, Colorado’s Ring of Fire, this Saturday for a highly anticipated match-up with Lynn Alvarez.

“I think it’s going to be a hard fight,” admitted Waterson. “The girl I’m fighting is also a Muay Thai fighter and has a similar background as me, so I think it’s going to be a good fight.”

With her overall skills growing, the question arose as to whether or not she’d prefer to trade shots with Alvarez or take the fight to the ground.

“I’ve been really, really wanting to use more of my Muay Thai, with my knees and my elbows, standing up or on the ground,” replied Waterson.

“I want to bang with her, but I’m excited to know that I have more in my arsenal now than just my stand-up. To be able to be on the ground with technique is a good thing.”

She is quick to credit her instructors for her development in all aspects of her game.

“I owe a lot to Coach (Greg) Jackson and Coach (Mike) Van Arsdale because I’ve grown so much,” said Waterson.

“Coach Jackson keeps reassuring me that I’m still in my learning phase, so whatever the outcome for any of my fights is, I’m still learning. That makes me feel a lot better knowing that he and everyone else at the gym has my back.”

Should she manage to get by Alvarez, Waterson feels that next year could be the year that she gets an opportunity to showcase on a larger stage.

“I think this year is a learning year for me and I hope next year I’ll start to get contracts, sponsorships and grow more as a professional fighter,” she commented. “This year is kind of like the in-between year for me, a bridge from amateur to pro.

“I want a contract, hopefully land an 18-month contract with Strikeforce. I want to fight in Japan. There’re a lot of things I want. As far as this next year, I’m taking each fight as it comes and I hope each time I fight my opponents get harder.”

In order to achieve those goals, she must continue to be successful in the cage, and will get her opportunity to do so this Saturday in Broomfield, Colorado at Ring of Fire 31.

“I’d like to thank my coach, Greg Jackson, all my teammates; my sponsors, Knockouts and Tapout,” concluded Waterson. “Come check out me fighting on Dec. 1, it’s going to be a brawl and you won’t regret it.”