by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
(Photo courtesy of April Pishna – www.PishnaPhoto.com)

It’s been 10 months since “The Karate Hottie” Michelle Waterson last stepped into the cage in Denver, suffering the second loss of her upstart career.

Since then, she’s stepped her training into high gear at Greg Jackon’s famed training facility, winning both of her fights this year in convincing fashion. Friday night she looks to return to her native city and prove herself once again, this time for the Strikeforce promotion.

“I’m feeling great,” exclaimed Waterson of her Denver return. “It’s good to come back home and to be able to perform in front of my home crowd after I’ve been training so hard.”

Still early in her career, she has begun to pick up the veteran traits of her Jackson’s peers, making her more dangerous than before.

“I’m more comfortable getting used to all the preparation and dealing with my anxiety and all the nerves that come with it,” she stated.

“I’ve been training a lot more effectively. As far as my game is concerned, I’m on top of it with my stand-up, ground and my wrestling.”

When asked if fans will be seeing the most complete fighter she could possibly be, Waterson replied, “I think so.

“I think the string of fights I’ve had have benefitted me tremendously, because I’ve been training continuously and improving in a lot of different areas that I’ve needed to improve in for a while.”

Facing her at Strikeforce will be Tyra Parker out of Rush MMA in Georgia, who steps in as a late replacement for original opponent Brandy Nerney, a veteran of Fatal Femmes Fighting.

Posed the question of whether she’d be hesitant to go to the ground with her opponent, she stated, “Not at all. I won my last fight by submission in the first round. The ground has been a lot more comfortable for me.”

With her mind set on Friday’s bout, what comes next is an open concept for Waterson; who just wants to continue to work her way up ladder, one fight at a time.

“Whatever happens in the future is what happens,” she said. “Right now I just want to focus on this fight; and hopefully I’ll have more fights lined up.

“I think it’s going to be a stepping stone for me and a great opportunity for me to represent myself and Jackson’s Fighting. Whatever falls into place after, I’m ready to take it on.”

With female MMA still in need of recognizable names and faces, a good showing could go a long way towards putting Waterson closer to the notoriety needed to become one of the sport’s next breakout stars.

“I want to thank my family, all my friends, Jackon’s, my coaches, and Tapout,” she closed out. “Hopefully when you come out to see me you’ll get what you pay for, because I’m going out there to fight my heart out.”