When Michelle Waterson had more than a year-long lull after her upset victory over Jessica Penne, the Jackson-Wink MMA representative would often vent about the lack of activity to her coaches.
Greg Jackson’s response: “Be careful what you wish for.”
Waterson was frustrated that she was unable to capitalize on the momentum generated by her memorable bout against Penne, a 2013 “Fight of the Year” candidate that earned her the Invicta Fighting Championships atomweight belt. Little did she know how crowded her schedule would eventually become.
Just three months after Waterson successfully defended her crown with a third-round technical knockout over Yasuko Tamada on Sept. 5, “The Karate Hottie” has been called into duty again, this time against Herica Tiburcio in the Invicta FC 10 main event on Friday night.
It is a headlining spot that was originally intended for Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, who was expected to make her bantamweight debut on the card. When an injury to the ex-Strikeforce featherweight queen put those plans on hold, it was Waterson who agreed to fill the void atop the marquee on five weeks’ notice.
While Cyborg’s quest for a comfortable weight cut and an eventual date with UFC champion Ronda Rousey holds limitless intrigue, it is Waterson who has established herself as Invicta’s centerpiece, headlining two of the promotion’s first three cards since it began streaming on UFC Fight Pass.
Waterson has been hearing the term “face of the promotion” quite a bit in recent days. She does not shy away from such a label.
“People have been saying that, and I definitely don’t mind taking that title,” Waterson told Sherdog.com. “I love Invicta. I think they represent women athletes and women’s MMA perfectly. I’m very happy to represent Invicta and be the face of it.”