Michelle Waterson is quite accomplished both in mixed martial arts and martial arts in general, but said she would not be opposed to giving professional wrestling a try.
"I think it would be fun," Waterson told Fightful.com in an exclusive interview prior to UFC 218 this Saturday in Detroit. "If I ever did get into pro wrestling I'd be able to utilize more of my artistic martial arts that I started in the beginning with. Yeah, you know, why not? If the door's open, why not."
Waterson, who added she really has not followed pro wrestling, would not be the first female MMA standout to transition to the squared circle. Former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has been training with Brian Kendrick and teasing a run with WWE. Rousey's cohort in the Four Horsewomen, Shayna Baszler, reached the finals of WWE's Mae Young Classic and signed with the promotion, reporting to the Performance Center back in October.
While Waterson (14-5) headed into her bout at UFC 218 against Tecia Torres looking to rebound from her first loss under the UFC banner, outside of the cage, it has been a productive year for the "Karate Hottie." Waterson was part of ESPN The Magazine's "Body Issue" and was part of the cast for MTV's The Challenge: Champs vs. Stars reality competition show.
"It's been amazing," Waterson said of her opportunities outside of MMA. "This is why we fight, so that we can elevate our brands so that when we're done fighting be able to go out there and do other things. It's good to have all these opportunities. I did so many great things … the Challenge, I was able to raise awareness for a great charity, MVP. I did a FitBit commercial. I did the ESPN magazine. All the while still training, getting better, wanting to get back in that win column."
Waterson said she had a good experience on the Challenge, but felt that her relatively laidback personality limited her screen time to some extent, saying:
"I think it's just because [of] my personality. I'm not one for drama. I'm not good at it. And so there are plenty of other people that were getting more shine in that sense because they are confrontational people," Waterson said. I actually got along with everybody really well. I love Johnny Bananas. I think he just tries to get underneath people's skin and in the fight game, you're used to that anyway. There are guys like him in the gym, a dime a dozen. Sorry, Bananas, you're not getting under my skin."
A former Invicta champion in the 105-pound atomweight division, which does not exist in the UFC, Waterson had won her first two bouts in the UFC before getting submitted by Rose Namajunas in April. Namajunas since has become the UFC strawweight champion.
Waterson said that her biggest problem in the Namajunas bout was "hesitation" and added that, during her fight camp to prepare for Torres, she focused on adding muscle to her frame and improving two key components to her fight game.
"The places that I feel like I've improved in leaps and bounds is my wrestling and my boxing, so I'm real excited to showcase that on Saturday," Waterson said.
Check out Fightful's complete interview with Michelle Waterson.