Mike Winkeljohn hopes atomweight division happens for Michelle Waterson; also want Namajunas rematch

Michelle Waterson
Image: @ufc on Instagram

Michelle Waterson had a chance to earn a strawweight title shot with a win over Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the main event of UFC Tampa. Yet she lost by decision which sent her back to the drawing board.

Her coach Mike Winkeljohn knows Waterson can be a top-fighter at 115-pounds but hopes the UFC starts an atomweight division. If that happens, he is confident Waterson would become a UFC champion.

“I would love for there to be a 105-pound division for Michelle. She is small for the division, but with that being said, she is right there. It is only the top two or three girls that are doing it to her at the moment that using the size,” Winkeljohn said to BJPENN.com. “She is back in the gym and knows she made some mistakes. I’m thinking Joanna is going to win the world title, but we are trying to get Michelle to get some muscle and try to get that back.”

Winkeljohn and the team at JacksonWink MMA expect Michelle Waterson to be back in early to mid-2020. In the time off, they are trying to build up more muscle and strength for Waterson.

“I think so. There are no talks right now as everyone is sitting waiting to see what they will do. The UFC is trying to figure out what they want to do. But, Michelle is a highly marketable and a great fighter and can go against any fighter in the division,” he explained. “She is going to work on some skills and work on muscle.”

One fight they are interested in is the Rose Namajunas rematch. The two shared the Octagon at UFC on FOX 24 in 2017. Namajunas won by second-round submission. Winkeljohn believes the fight makes sense to do. But, if that can come to fruition, they also are eyeing Jessica Andrade.

“They both have different skillsets. Andrade is so strong but Michelle’s movement is way better. Rose is incredible with her boxing but Michelle would love to get that fight back,” he concluded. 

Do you think we will ever see the UFC start an atomweight division? And, who do you want Michelle Waterson to fight next?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/3/2019.