On Saturday night, in the main event of UFC on Fox 22, former Invicta Fighting Championship atomweight queen Michelle Waterson scored a huge win over highly regarded prospect Paige VanZant. Waterson earned this win by putting VanZant to sleep with a first-round rear-naked choke.
In victory, the former Invicta champ continues her march up the UFC strawweight rankings, where a plethora of exciting matchups await. Though the UFC’s matchmaking team has a long list of potential matchup options to consider when booking Waterson’s next fight, a recent callout from one of the division’s top fighters might have made their job a lot easier. That fighter is Rose Namajunas, a former title challenger who currently holds the number-four spot in the divisional rankings.
Namajunas made her callout on Instagram shortly after Waterson’s big win.
First off I want to congratulate @karatehottiemma on a SPECTACULAR performance! You showed tremendous growth and hunger as a fighter/mother/wife/cool person since knowing you so hats off to you! Secondly I want to acknowledge the messages I’ve been getting from my fans that this is the next matchup y’all want to see! Me too! Make it happen @danawhite @ufc
When we last saw Namajunas in action, she surrendered a competitive split decision to recent title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Prior to that loss, she was riding high on a three-fight streak, having defeat Angela Hill, VanZant, and Tecia Torres. She would enter this prospective bout with an overall record of 5-3.
Waterson, meanwhile, is far more experienced at 14-4 overall. Prior to her defeat of VanZant, she made a successful UFC debut with a submission defeat of Angela Magana. That win was preceded by a loss to Herica Tiburcio under the Invicta banner.
While Waterson is more experienced than most of her peers, she’s also much smaller, being far more suited for the 105 atomweight division (which doesn’t exist in the UFC) than she is for the 115-pound strawweight division.
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