Interview With Michelle WatersonEagerly looking to get back into action, former Fight Girls contestant and current mixed martial arts star Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson talks with about her future goals as she continues to shine in the sport.

As one of the most attractive female competitors in mixed martial arts today, Michelle knows that there are those who will not take her seriously as a fighter.


However, after turning pro in her very first MMA fight, Michelle has tallied an impressive 6-3-0 record against formidable competition and has established herself as a top prospect for the coming years.

In this interview, Michelle discusses everything from overcoming stigmas attached to her nickname to training among the best at Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Please note that this is a repost of our original interview here. Hi, Michelle. Thank you very much for taking the time for this interview. For those who might not be familiar with your background, can you tell us a bit about your upbringing, when you first took an interest in martial arts and which disciplines you began training in?

Michelle Waterson: When I first started, I was about 10 years old and it was something that my brother was interested in so I was interested as well. I wanted to be exactly like him, so we started doing karate. We competed in the local circuits and did really well. I got my Black Belt in American Free Style Karate, then started training in the art of WuShu. I loved how beautiful the art was; both beautiful and powerful and the same time.

After that, my mother and I went to Thailand and I wanted to try my hand at Muay Thai, so I went to the Sityodtong camp in Pattaya. I trained for about a month and fell in love with the challenge that it presented me. I came back to the States and pursued martial arts in more of a combative way.

Then I started training with Donald Cerrone. I took a couple of amateur Muay Thai fights, then decided to take the plunge and go pro for my very first MMA fight, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Aside from mixed martial arts, which other combat sports are you currently actively competing in and which do you most enjoy being a part of?

Michelle: I’m really enjoying doing grappling tournaments and working on my boxing. Since I am so comfortable with kicking, it takes me out of my comfort zone. Some fans may know you best from your time on Fight Girls, which saw you training in Muay Thai under Master Toddy. Did you find that more people became aware of who you were after your time on the show or was it easy to maintain a normal life?

Michelle: Being on Fight Girls definitely launched my notoriety as a fighter. People who follow the fight game took notice of me. I was able to get a lot of fights after the show was over. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to be on TV. During your time on Fight Girls, it quickly became clear that you shared a very close relationship with your mother and that your religion (Buddhism) was a fundamental key in shaping who you were as a person. How much of an impact has the support from your mother and your religious practices had on both your career and yourself as a whole?

Michelle: Family has always been very important to me. Mom and Dad’s approval was always a must when it came to the decisions that I made in life. Both of my parents motivate and inspire me, and being a Buddhist has helped me to become a more balanced and peaceful person. My Dad used to always say, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” And my mother would always tell me to keep in mind the power of Karma. In addition to martial arts, you have also worked as a model and as a waitress for the infamous Hooters chain of restaurants. Do you continue to work in those fields or have you transitioned to a full-time fighting schedule?

Michelle: I do continue to model and do little things here and there. If the opportunity presents itself, I am always willing to take advantage of it. I don’t work at Hooters anymore, but I have tons of friends that work there and I am in there quite frequently. I train full-time and have a part-time job as a waitress at a local restaurant called La Placita on the weekends. Mixed martial artists have a wide variety of nicknames, with an even wider variety of meanings, but your nickname (“The Karate Hottie”) is certainly one of the most self-explanatory names in the sport. You are an expert in karate and you are gorgeous. That pretty much sums it up. However, with a nickname like that comes critics and detractors, so have you found that some people don’t take you as seriously because of it?

Michelle: I have come to accept the fact that there are always going to be people that judge me because of the nickname and my looks, but I know in my heart that I am a skilled fighter. My teammates and coaches know my skills as well, and that’s what matters to me. When people don’t take me seriously, it just drives me to train harder.