Michelle Waterson is getting ready to headline her first ever UFC event as she battles Paige VanZant at UFC On Fox 22.
While this will be a very big moment for the former Invicta FC Atomweigt Champion, Waterson believes that VanZant is still far from main event level as a fighter.
"I think it's great," Waterson said on The MMA Hour. "I think, I sent her out a tweet when she was on ‘Dancing with the Stars,' they say ‘don't hate the player, hate the game.' I can't hate on that, she's a beautiful person, she's a great dancer. As far as her fighting skill, I wouldn't go so far as to say she's amazing," Waterson said. "She is where she is because of her hunger. I feel like she's very green in whole aspect of fighting," Waterson added. "And that's not necessarily a bad thing. ... In all of her fights, it's just like dancing. If you are dancing with someone who doesn't know what they're doing, they throw you off. They throw your rhythm off and that's what Paige is doing in her fights. Her style is very erratic and unpredictable, and it's been throwing people off, people who have a fight with her."
Waterson has not stepped into the octagon in quite some time, as a bout with Tecia Torres at UFC 194 was scrapped after Waterson suffered an injury. She's now facing a layoff of nearly a year-and-a-half.
"It's been a long time since I fought and I've just kind of been, injury after injury and just trying to stay positive through the whole thing," Waterson said. I guess they say it really is true what they say, patience is a virtue and I was just trying to stay patient through it all and I got the news we were going to headline and I was just really excited. I feel like at that point it was almost comical, it was so close, I was two weeks away, I did all my medicals, the light was at the end of the tunnel. Our flights were booked, me and my husband were planning on staying in Germany and taking a road trip down to France, everything was mapped out and planned. I was sparring and hit the girl on top of the head and I felt down a tingle go down my arm and I was like okay, that's just from punching her in the head," Waterson said. "And i kept up and didn't feel any better and when the round was over I took my glove off and saw this huge lump in my hand and I got a huge lump in my throat and I was trying to be positive still I guess, and showed it to Coach [Mike Winklejohn] and said this doesn't thing doesn't look good, and he looked at it and said yup, it's broke. I was just more crushed that I was so close to fighting and it was just all taken away."
UFC On Fox 22 will be happening on Saturday, December 17th from the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California with Paige VanZant and Micelle Waterson headlining.