Michelle Waterson: UFC, MMA Fight, Next Fight & Net Worth

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Michelle Waterson, aka “Karate Hottie,” is a professional mixed martial arts fighter who has made her name in the UFC world.

She is also the former Invicta RC Atomweight Champion and was ranked #1 among women’s atomweight fighters worldwide between 2013-2014. 

Likewise, as of May 21, 2020, Michelle is ranked #8 in the UFC women’s strawweight rankings. Aside from that, she also won the Women’s Atomweight of the Year award in 2013.

Michelle Waterson age
Michelle Waterson is a professional MMA and UFC fighter.

Just from this, we can see how big of a name Michelle is in the MMA and UFC world. But today, along with her professional career in the UFC, we will also discuss her personal life, net worth, and other kinds of stuff.

Michelle Waterson | Quick Facts

Full Name Michelle Elleen Waterson
Birth Date January 6, 1986
Birth Place Aurora, Colorado, US
Known as Karate Hottie
Religion Unknown
Nationality American
Ethnicity Caucasian and Thai descent
Education University of Denver
Horoscope Capricorn
Father’s Name Unknown
Mother’s Name  Unknown
Siblings A Brother
Age 38 Years Old
Height 5 feet 3 inches (160 cm)
Weight 52 kgs(115 lbs)
Build Athletic
Eye color Dark brown
Profession Professional Mixed Martial Artist
Active years 2016-present
Division Strawweight, Atom Weight
Team Jackson Wink MMA Academy
Rank Black Belt in American Freestyle Karate, Brown Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Marital Status Married
Spouse Joshua Gomez
Net Worth  $700k
Social Media Instagram, Twitter
Merch Signed Card, Signed UFC Cap
Last Update July, 2024

Who is Michelle Waterson? What is her ethnicity?

Michelle Waterson, who has established her name as “Karate Hottie” in the UFC fandom, was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in the United States of America.

Waterson, whose full name is Michelle Elleen Waterson, was born to a Caucasian father and a Thai mother, which makes her biracial. Sadly, the name of her parents and their whereabouts are unknown as of now.

Likewise, Michelle grew up in Aurora with her brother, Max Waterson. Before she turned to MMA, Waterson was a model who began her career back in 2004. 

As for her education, Michelle went to Aurora Central High School and later attended the University of Denver. Before she could graduate, the young model turned to pursue her career in fighting.

Early Fighting Career- MMA

Unlike other MMA fighters, Michelle did not have any family members to inspire her. It all started when she first had an interest in gymnastics, but since she could not pay for classes, Michelle then moved to Karate at the age of ten.

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Waterson holds a black belt in American Freestyle Karate and is also trained in Wushu, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, and wrestling. The American-born rose to fame after competing on the Muay Thai-themed reality show, Fight Girls.

Later, she also appeared as a fighter in the MTV/MTV2 reality show Bully Beatdown.

Professional Mixed Martial Arts Career

It is no secret that Michelle is an able fighter who has made her career as a mixed martial artist. But she did not always start as a fighter as many think.

Before fighting, she used to be a ring girl but only transitioned with Donald Cerrone’s help. Waterson officially made her MMA debut on February 16, 2007, at the Ring of Fire 28: Evolution against Andrea Miller. 

Michelle won her first fight by unanimous decision and hence made her debut without any amateur fights.

Right after that, she faced Freestyle Cage Fighting champion Lynn Alvarez at Ring of Fire Payback on October 3, 2008, but lost by submission in the first round.

Michelle Waterson MMA
Michelle Waterson sexy and hot photoshoot 

Likewise, Michelle made her Strikeforce debut on October 3, 2008, where she faced Tyra Parker at Strikeforce: Payback. Waterson swept the victory by rear-naked choke submission in the first round.

Next, she met Karina Taylor at Duke City MMA series one on March 1, 2009, and got the win by armbar submission in the first round. Sadly, many argued that Taylor neer tapped out to the armbar, making her win questionable.

The following month, she faced former WIBA and IFBA Flyweight Boxing Champion Elena Reid at Apache Gold: Extreme Beatdown. But the victory was for Reid as she won the fight by TKO in the second round.

Moreover, Michelle then faced Rosary Califano, Masako Yoshida, and then Diana Rael, bagging victory in all of the matches.

Michelle Waterson in Invicta Fighting Championship

After her debut in the MMA, Waterson slowly made her way to the Invicta Fighting Championships and faced Lacey Schuckman in October 2012. Also, declared as the night’s fight, Michelle defeated Lacey after three back-and-forth rounds.

Then the young fighter faced Jessica Penne for the Invicta FC Atomweight Championship in Invicta FC 5: Penne vs. Waterson on April 5, 2013.

Just as in her previous fight, Michelle also swept the victory via armbar submission in the fourth round.

Likewise, Waterson earned the title of Invicta FC Atomweight Champion. In another main event, she defeated and defended her championship against Yasuko Tamada.

Similarly, Waterson’s next fight was with Brazilian Herica Tiburcio in December 2014. Sadly, she lost the battle via guillotine choke submission in the third round.

Ultimate Fighting Championship and Rise to Fame

Following her success as an MMA fighter and Invicta FC Atomweight Champion, Michelle made her way to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

She reportedly signed with the UFC on April 28, 2015, and was expected to compete in the Women’s Strawweight division.

Finally, Waterson made her much-anticipated debut in July 2015 against Angela Magana, which she won via submission in the third round.

Soon after her debut in the UFC, Michelle took a year-and-a-half away due to her knee injury. Waterson finally returned to the ring and faced Paige VanZant in the main event at UFC on Fox 22.

Likewise, according to Sherdog, the American fighter won the match via technical submission, a rear-naked choke in the first round. Not to mention, she also won the first Performance of the Night bonus award.

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After her return from the injury, Michelle was eager and filled with anticipation. She fought against many fighters from Rose Namajunas, Cortney Casey, Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Angela Hill, Felice Herrig, and many more with resulted in few losses and wins through a rear-naked choke, split decisions, etc.

Moreover, her recent fight with Angela Hill was postponed for many weeks due to personal reasons.

She was scheduled to meet Hill on August 22, 2020, at UFC on ESPN 15, but after the move, it took place three weeks later at UFC Fight Night 177.

Michelle Waterson UFC, stats
Michelle Waterson goes ballistic in the octagon.

Nonetheless, Michelle won the fight via a split decision and earned the Fight of the Night award. Moreover, she was also awarded BJJ brown belt in the octagon by her coach, Gracie Barra‘s Rafael ‘Barate’ Freitas. 

Media Appearances

Furthermore, Michelle has been featured in the Knockouts calendar of 2008. Likewise, she has also been featured in the music video for Head Crusher, American Ninja Warrior, Bully Beatdown, MTV reality show The Challenge and The Body Issue.

The Body Issue is an edition of ESPN The Magazine, which features dozens of athletes in nude and semi-nude photographs, intended to rival the annual Swimsuit Issue from Sports Illustrated.

Moreover, Michelle also performed stunts for Natalie Portman in the Marvel movie Thor. 

Michelle Waterson | Awards and Records 

Invicta FC

  • 1x Atomweight Championship 
  • 2x Fight of the Night 

Women’s MMA Awards

  • Atomweight of the Year- 2013, 2014
  • 2x Fight of the Year- 2013, 2014 
  • September Fight of the Month- 2020 


  • Most Vulgar Display of Power Award- 2014 

Ultimate Fighting Championship

  • Performance of the Night 
  • Fight of the Night 

Who is Michelle Waterson’s husband? Personal Life and Marriage

Now, talking more about her personal life, Michelle, 34, is a married woman. She is happily married to her husband, Joshua Gomez, who is also a former U.S. Armed Forces amateur boxing champion. Unfortunately, the couple has yet to reveal when and where they met.

Nonetheless, the lovely duo tied the knot back in 2012, which their loved family members and family attended.

Also, their beautiful wedding took place at Hacienda Vargas in Algodones, N.M. Apparently, the venue was decorated to look like an old-school fight poster.

Likewise, the two are now proud parents of a child. In 2010, Michelle announced her pregnancy and later gave birth to a beautiful daughter named Araya in March 2011.

It is incredible how Waterson can judge her professional fighting career and look after her family at the same time. Talking about it, Michelle also does other media gigs aside from her regular fighting gigs.

In June 2014, Waterson took part in American Ninja Warrior but failed to qualify after falling on the first obstacle.

In 2016, Michelle was featured on Bully Beatdown, followed by the 2016 documentary Fight Mom, centered around her character.

Moreover, in 2017, Waterson competed on a special mini-series for the MTV reality show, The Challenge, titled Champs vs. Stars.

How old is Michelle Waterson?- Age and Body Measurements

Michelle, famous as “Karate Hottie,” was born on January 6, 1986, which makes her 34 years old. Born and later raised in Aurora, her star sign is Capricorn, who is known for being competitive, free-spirited, and a risk-taker.

Likewise, it was not only her risk-taking nature that helped her succeed in the intense sport known as MMA. It was also her natural ability to take on Karate and other martial arts like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu correctly.

Aside from that, Michelle stands at 5 feet 3 inches(160 cm) and weighs around 52 kgs(115 lbs). Waterson, a fearsome fighter and a mother, has an athletic body measuring 35-25-35 inches. 

Net worth and Salary Estimation

As we all know, not only is Michelle successful as an MMA fighter but also popular. From her fame in the MMA world, Waterson has garnered wealth along with her success. As of now, her net worth is estimated to be around $700k. 

Likewise, Waterson alone makes $284,000 from her earnings, excluding bonuses after the fight. In a match against Paige VanZant, Michelle made $30,000 and reportedly made $80,000 after defeating Courtney Casey at FOX 29.

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Apart from the salary and bonus, she also earns extra from her brand endorsement and sponsorship deals. However, even after all this, Michelle has yet to reveal her full income and assets to public knowledge.

Social Media Presence

Instagram–  1.5 million Followers

Twitter–  103.8k Followers

Common Queries about Michelle Waterson

When is Michelle Waterson’s next fight? 

Michelle was scheduled to fight with Amanda Ribas on January 24, 2021, at UFC 257. However, on December 8, 2020, it was reported that Michelle was forced out of the event.

Kriti is a senior content writer and editor for biography, news, and gossips. She has previously worked for TVShowStars under the alias "Kira." Besides being an avid reader and anime fan, she loves perusing through YouTube/Spotify and discovering Indie bands.

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