After UFC 238, Michelle Waterson appeared likely for title contention at 115 lbs.
In the feature prelim, top Strawweight contender Tatiana Suarez outpointed Nina Ansaroff in a pivotal divisional clash. However, Suarez's performance wasn't particularly enthralling, opening the door to another choice for Jessica Andrade's next title challenger. Though only ranked 7th, Michelle Waterson looked like an obvious choice for that exact role.
Since suffering two consecutive defeats for the first time in her career, Waterson has scored three straight wins, most recently outpointing Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC Fight Night Philadelphia. With a 5-2 record since arriving in the octagon, Waterson's contender credentials are undeniably impressive but according to UFC President Dana White, 'The Karate Hottie' is far from next in line.
When asked about the matter by MMA Junkie, White responded bluntly, "Michelle Waterson? Definitely not Michelle Waterson,” he said at UFC 238 post-fight press conference. “Michelle Waterson doesn’t even want to fight until like September or October or something, and she’s ranked too low.”
Undeterred though, Waterson continued to push for the opportunity, taking to social media in an official request for the title fight:
Sounds good to me ------ Give me a chance to be #MOMCHAMP I've put in my time! I've been fighting for over 12 years professionally. 6 out of my 7 ufc bouts were with top 10 ranked opponents when I fought them, I've won my last three fights, I have been a champ before, I know what it takes to go five rounds, I know what it takes to headline a show and I have an army of family, friends, and the best fans in the world who are ready to see me make history! Come on @danawhite @jessicammapro @ufc let's make it happen!
Andrade's list of potential contenders is admittedly slim, with four of the division's top five recently suffering a defeat. Moreover, a rematch with Rose Namajunas remains up in the air, as the former champion expressed an uncertainty regarding her fighting future.