Michelle Waterson wants to put damage on Angela Hill, looks forward to ‘a hot mess’

LAS VEGAS – Michelle Waterson admits the constant grind of being a perennial UFC contender had taken a bit of a toll, but as she prepared for her upcoming headliner with Angela Hill, that all changed.

“I kind of left with a bit of a salty taste in my mouth after my last fight, so just falling in love with the training, falling in love with learning and growing and getting better and the grit and the grind of it all has been refreshing,” Waterson told MMA Junkie. “So to be bumped up to main event just adds to that refreshment, and it’s exciting. I’m excited to go five rounds with a game opponent like Angela.”

Waterson (17-8 MMA, 5-4 UFC) and Hill (12-8 MMA, 7-8 UFC) meet in the strawweight main event of Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 35, which streams live on ESPN+ from UFC Apex.

It’s Waterson’s second fight in the pandemic era, after coming up short in a razor-thin split-decision to Carla Esparza at May’s UFC 249. Waterson admitted the fanless environment wreaked a bit of havoc on her execution.

“I do think think that hearing her coaches and hearing commentators played a part into me not pushing in the last fight,” Waterson said. “I thought that I was winning. I could hear the desperation in her corner. I could hear the commentators say, ‘Carla needs to do something.’ So I didn’t feel the need to push, especially against an opponent like Carla who is really good at strategically taking the round

“Having it that intimate and being able to listen to, like, the conversations can sometimes be a negative, so we focused a lot in this camp on just being able to focus on my corner and trusting in myself and going in there and taking the fight, not leaving it up to the judges.”

Waterson and Hill were originally expected to meet in August, but in the UFC’s constantly juggling current world, the contest was pushed back a few weeks. It was then promoted to the headliner when Glover Teixeira’s positive COVID-19 delayed his bout with Thiago “Marreta” Santos.

Keeping her championship mindset in the forefront, Waterson said moving from three rounds to five was no issue.

“My end game is to fight for the championship belt, and that’s a five-round fight, so we always train for five-round fights, and we’re ready for it,” Waterson said.

But for Waterson, the championship mindset isn’t just being able to go 25 minutes. Back-to-back decision losses to former champions have resonated with Waterson, and she said the constant worry about where she stands in the rankings and the questions of “what comes next?” proved unproductive.

A lifelong martial artist, Waterson said she got caught up in the sport and forgot about the root of the clash.

“The gameplan is to win the fight, regardless of where it goes,” Waterson said. “But also, I’m really eager to get in there and put some damage on. I think I’ve gotten away from that just under the pressure of trying to climb the ladder and just trying to win, and forgetting about what the objective of fighting is. The purpose of it is to put the most damage on the other person. I’m excited to get in there and put some damage on her.”

With Waterson’s karate background and Hill’s history with muay Thai, the fight could end up being rather entertaining. Waterson certainly hopes it turns out that way, and she thinks if she can make sure she’s mentally in the moment, everything else will take care of itself.

“The ultimate goal is getting my hand raised,” Waterson said. “As far as proving something here or there, I think that I’ve been fighting for so long, and it’s funny because you can kind of get caught in this routine of fighting, and for me, it’s kind of weird how it comes full circle where it’s really exciting to just get in there and fight.

“I don’t care for it to be technical. I don’t care for it to be pretty. It probably will turn into a mess, but that’s what fights are sometimes, and so I’m looking forward to it being a hot mess.”

View full post on MMA Junkie

, , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.

© 1992-2020 DC2NET™, Inc. All Rights Reserved