Michelle Eileen Waterson is a famous American mixed martial artist, model, and actress. In 2013-2014 she reached the ranking of No. 1 women's atomweight fighter in the world. As of January 1, 2023, she is currently #12 in the UFC women's strawweight rankings, having 61 points.
Michelle, or Karate Hottie as she is sometimes called, was born January 6, 1986, in Colorado, U.S. She comes from a big family that includes her mom, dad, brother, and sister. Her father is American, and her mother is Thai. Her first sports interest was Gymnastics, but as her family couldn't pay for the classes, she ended up in Karate when she was 10. She has also trained in Wushu, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing, and Wrestling. She went to the Aurora High School and started her modeling career right after graduation from high school. She entered The University of Denver, and it was then that she realized she wanted to build her career in fighting.
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Waterson holds a black belt in American Karate and a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Michelle became famous as a contestant on the Muay Thai-themed Fight Girls reality show, and she was also featured as one of the fighters in the MTV/MTV2 reality show Bully Beatdown. An interesting fact is that she didn't fight as an amateur in any matches and made her debut In MMA on February 16, 2007, against Andrea Miller, winning the fight by unanimous decision.
There were many memorable fights in the career of Michelle, both at Invicta Fighting Championships and where she competed in Atomweight division, and at Ultimate Fighting Championship where she took part in strawweight division. Among them, it's worth mentioning the fight with Lacey Schuckman on October 6, 2012, when Waterson defeated Schuckman, and their bout was named Fight of the Night. Or another fight when Michelle faced Jessica Penne on April 5, 2013. Her win by armbar submission in the fourth round brought her the title of the Invicta FC Atomweight Champion. And Michelle successfully defended it on September 6, 2014, in the fight against Yasuko Tamada.
In 2015 Waterson officially signed with UFC and her debut took place on July 12, 2015, against Angela Magaña. The fight was won by Michelle via submission in the third round.
Like any athlete during her career, Michelle Waterson had difficulties as well. She missed almost a year and a half due to injuries and returned only in December, 2016. She also had a number of losses in her career. But what is great about Michelle is her attitude towards such a difficult situation for any athlete as a loss. Yes, it's painful, and yes, it's very difficult to accept that you've sacrificed a lot of time and strength, but instead of winning, you have to see the happiness of the other fighter. But as she mentioned in one of her recent posts on Instagram: "You also have to understand that it really means nothing at the end of the day. I'm still going home with my family, that loves me. I'm healthy. It has to be both. It has to be everything and nothing at the same time".
Michelle Waterson has married her long-time boyfriend, the former U.S. Army officer and boxer Joshua Gomez. They engaged in 2010, and long after that, the couple announced that Michelle was pregnant. Her daughter Aarya Gomez was born on March 18, 2011.
Waterson is very active on social media. For example, only her Instagram account has 1,7 million followers. She calls herself there a loving mother, wife, and professional badass, and it's noticeable from what she shares with her followers.
As a model, she participated in many photoshoots, and she actually got her nickname, 'Karate Hottie', after her appearance in a Hooters calendar shoot. In 2014 she appeared on American Ninja Warrior, but unfortunately, Michelle failed to qualify because she fell on the first obstacle. Waterson also performed some stunts in the Marvel movie Thor for Natalie Portman, and she also appeared in some movies, for example, MacGruber (2010), Fright Night (2011), and Jackie (2012).
This article first appeared on JACKSONWINK.COM on 1/10/2023
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