MICHELLE Waterson may not be fighting at the UFC Fight Night Singapore on June 17, but she’s having just as much fun entertaining her Malaysian fans outside the octagon.
At 31, the strawweight fighter, a former Invicta FC champion, already has over 10 years of professional fighting under her belt.
“It’s been crazy ever since my fight last year and I’ve been on a rollercoaster travelling to New York, California, Singapore, Malaysia – I’m just growing my brand and developing myself as an elite fighter.”
Despite losing her last match back in April to Rose Namajunas in a rear-naked choke in the second round, Waterson has taken it with a pinch of salt because to her, every learning experience matters.
“I lost but its ok because you can learn more from your losses and every time I step into a fight, I learn something new about myself.”
Waterson, currently in KL as part of a promotional tour, spent several hours meeting her fans and taking them through the paces at MuayFit MMA Gym in Petaling Jaya earlier today.
The American-Thai lass is no stranger to Asia as she takes her mum’s Thai heritage with her everywhere she goes.
The karate black belt and Brazilian jujitsu blue belt martial arts expert has also tried taking up muay thai, with surprising results.
“I wanted to train in muay thai and it was the opposite of what I trained in karate.”
“Martial arts was easy for me, so this grasped my attention because I couldn’t get it and from there, it made me a better martial artist.”
Nicknamed the ‘Karate Hottie’, Waterson started fighting due to her, and older brother Max’s, passion for the movie Mortal Kombat and cartoon The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
“We grew up watching Ninja Turtles and Mortal Kombat so we wanted to be like them. When a local martial arts studio opened up nearby, we signed up and got really good really fast.
“That’s when I knew I wanted it to be a part of my life and for the rest of my life.”
However, the mother of one credits her husband, Joshua Gomez, as her hero and one of her main idols in life as the US Armed Forces amateur boxing champion has sacrificed a lot for their family.
Waterson and Gomez’s six-year old daughter Araya is along on the Asian tour.
Would the couple encourage their daughter to follow Waterson’s footsteps and embark on a fighting career?
Waterson replied: “I would tell her, you don’t need to be like me, be yourself. I’m 100 per cent behind you but you are going to have to get ready because both mommy and daddy know how to fight, so get ready for a world of hurt.”
Aside from fighting under the UFC franchise, Waterson has also done stunts for movies like The Lone Ranger, Thor and Transcendence and was featured in the American metal band Megadeth’s music video for the single Head Crusher.