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Michelle Waterson Ready For Spotlight Of UFC Main Event

Former Invicta FC champion Michelle Waterson has been able to successfully navigate being a mom and top UFC title contender.

Michelle Waterson is one of the key pieces to the growth of women’s MMA over the years, as the former Invicta FC champion has balanced her life outside the Octagon with a stellar career inside of it.

Waterson will headline Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 161 card from the Amalie Arena in Tampa opposite former UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

The 33-year-old known as the “Karate Hottie” gave birth to a baby girl in 2011, but returned to the cage the following year. She signed with Invicta FC in October of 2012 and won the atomweight title a year later with a submission in the fourth round over Jessica Penne.

Related: UFC Tampa To Feature Michelle Waterson Vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Making Of The Mom Champ: Michelle Waterson

Waterson would make a successful title defense over Yasuko Tamada in 2014 before dropping the belt to Herica Tiburico. She moved back to the strawweight division upon signing with the UFC, debuting with a third round submission of Angela Magana.

In 2016, Waterson got the chance to headline her first UFC card, taking advantage with a first round submission win over Paige VanZant to earn “Performance of the Night” honors. Her 2017 was a tough one, as she lost to former UFC champion Rose Namajunas and suffered a decision defeat at the hands of Tecia Torres.

Since, though, Waterson has been on fire, topping Cortney Casey, Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz in her last three fights to improve to 17-6 overall and 5-2 inside the Octagon.

UFC Fight Night 161 Primer: Michelle Waterson Vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz

Next up for Waterson will be the toughest challenge of her career in Jedrzejczyk, a former UFC strawweight champion. The American Top Team-trained fighter has won just once in her last four, but has faced Namajunas twice and current UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko during that stretch.

Jedrzejczyk owns wins over Torres, Jessica Andrade, Penne, Claudia Gadelha and Kowalkiewiz in her career. sitting at 15-3 overall and 9-3 with the UFC since debuting in 2014.

UFC Fight Night 161 Fight Card

MAIN CARD (ESPN+)

Women’s Strawweight: Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Michelle Waterson

Featherweight: Cub Swanson vs. Kron Gracie

Women’s Strawweight: Mackenzie Dern vs. Amanda Ribas

Lightweight: Matt Frevola vs. Luis Pena

Middleweight: Eryk Anders vs. Gerald Meerschaert

PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN+)

Welterweight: Niko Price vs. James Vick

Light Heavyweight: Ryan Spann vs. Devin Clark

Flyweight: Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Tim Elliott

Welterweight: Max Griffin vs. Alex Morono

Welterweight: Miguel Baeza vs. Hector Aldana

Middleweight: Marvin Vettori vs. Andrew Sanchez

Women’s Flyweight: JJ Aldrich vs. Lauren Mueller

Bantamweight: Marlon Vera vs. Andre Ewell

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