Lost in the hoopla of this coming Saturday’s UFC 189 is the fact that the very next night at the TUF 21 finale, the debut of someone who could very well be the UFC’s next big women’s MMA star is taking place, when Michelle Waterson sets foot in the octagon for the first time. Welcome to the UFC — now make it count.

It goes without saying that winning is what matters most in the promotion, followed by how you win (flash and panache help). As Waterson moves up in weight to strawweight after having competed most recently at atomweight in Invicta, where she won the atomweight championship and defended it once prior to dropping the strap last December and singing with the UFC, there are some questions as to how she’ll handle scrapping with slightly larger ladies. Yet she has the skills to nullify that, and the UFC has given her Angela Magana out of the gate — a fighter who has become more notorious for what she says outside of the octagon (her Twitter is definitely of the NSFW variety) than her accomplishments in it thus far.

That’s not to say Waterson’s in for an easy fight: she isn’t, and Magana is likely aware that her back is against the wall Sunday night, as a loss would drop her to 0-2 in a promotion that just cut over a dozen fighters. However, it’s a fight that has all the makings of a classic: a clear villain vs. a fighter who could be the next hero in women’s MMA, who enters the UFC with more of a following than most newly signed fighters, and who has a fan-friendly style (see her destruction of Yasuko Tamada in Invicta for an example, which earned FightBooth.com’s 2014 Most Vulgar Display of Power award).

Should Waterson win, you’ll quickly see her become another ambassador in a division full of talent, next to the likes of Paige VanZant, the incoming Jessica Aguilar, and strawweight Queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk (perhaps we should just call her Joanna Champion now). You’ll also see her in some (hopefully) stellar bouts in the not too distance future. Waterson has all the tools — lets hope she can put them together Sunday night.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.