As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.
In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.
Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word. Michelle "The Karate Hottie" Waterson is the subject of this week's interview. MMAPlayground's own, Kyle Galvin (aka "Kpro") recently had a chance to interview Waterson who currently sports a mixed martial arts record of 8-3-0.
Check out the interview below to read Waterson's thoughts on training while raising a newborn child, what she thought of Jon Jones' victory over Quinton Jackson, and more!
* * * * *MMAPG:
We really appreciate you taking the time to chat with us, Michelle. How did you get interested in transitioning from point sparring in Karate to competing in combat sports on a professional level? WATERSON:
It was a challenge for me and I wanted to see if I could overcome that challenge. Plus, it was a major adrenaline rush. MMAPG:
When did you first have the idea that you may become an MMA fighter? WATERSON:
When I realized that I could make a career out of it, and do what I loved for a living. MMAPG:
After returning from Thailand and transitioning from Karate to Muay Thai you began working with Donald Cerrone. How do you feel training with Cerrone has impacted your career? WATERSON:
It gave me the exposure I needed to be known in the Martial Arts world. I was able to get fights quicker and people kind of already knew me. It was a great starting point in my career. MMAPG:
How has training at Jackson's Mixed Martial Arts differed from any other training you've had? WATERSON:
It's a wonderful training environment. Everyone cares for each other and wants to see each other get better. I have so many training partners and they all bring something different to the table. It's like my second family. MMAPG:
You mentioned wrestling as your weakest link in the past, but have thanked Melvin for the practice in wrestling. As I'm assuming it's Melvin Guillard, has his joining Jackson's MMA helped hone some of your skills there in preparation for your next fight? WATERSON:
Melvin is among one of many who have helped me in preparation for my fights. Every one of my teammates is always there to offer advice and support. MMAPG:
How have you adapted, if you needed to, to the pressure of performing at an elite level in front of so many people? Was it something that came naturally or did you have to work at it? WATERSON:
It was a little intimidating at first, but I realized that I sweat and bleed just like they do, and if they can become champions so could I. I try to train as hard as they do. All the elite guys inspire me to train hard. MMAPG:
Where were you and describe your reaction when your teammate Jon Jones defended his belt against Rampage? WATERSON:
I was watching it at a friend’s house. I was super excited to see Jon win. He is such a good person and a hard worker. Before he left, we had a team meeting and he told us all that he was gonna bring the belt back home for the team. He told us all that the belt belonged to the team, and that we were all champs! It was super inspirational. MMAPG:
Who do you spend most of your time training with? WATERSON:
Julie Kedzie, Heather Clark, Nohime Dennision, Kelly Warren, Holly Holm, Emily K, Jodi E! Thanks to them I train hard every day. MMAPG:
With you having grown up in Colorado, I still have to ask, what sports teams do you root for if any? WATERSON:
My fiancée has converted me into a Cowboys fan!! (laughs) MMAPG:
It's the most fitting nickname in women's MMA but how did "The Karate Hottie" come about? WATERSON:
I started off in karate, but I was doing a photo shoot for a bikini company and they gave me that nickname. When I had my first MMA fight, the promoter Google’d my name and "The Karate Hottie" popped up! He used it as my fight name and it has stuck ever since. MMAPG:
You had a 15 second flying armbar submission last year. I can't even put my pillowcase on in 15 seconds! Describe how that felt, and was it something you trained for that fight if your opponent was to catch one of your kicks? WATERSON:
It was an in the moment move. She caught my kick and I knew we were going down, so I decided to try to get the more dominant position by going for the armbar! It worked and I was super pumped! MMAPG:
Congratulations on giving birth to your daughter Araya earlier this year! I remember years back in an interview you mentioned you had no extra time as MMA consumes your life, How has your training, and life, changed since giving birth less than 6 months ago? WATERSON:
My life is CRAZY...but I love it. My daughter Araya is so beautiful, and she makes me smile every day. I really have no time for anything. I train when I can, or when she lets me, but I know with time I will learn how to balance my career and motherhood. MMAPG:
If it's possible, when training full time with a newborn, what do you do for fun? WATERSON:
Sleep!!! (laughs) MMAPG:
What motivates you in the gym and in the ring/cage to be one of the top female mixed martial artists? WATERSON:
My daughter. My new family! I need to provide for her now. I want her to know that I went after my dreams; that I didn't let obstacles get in my way and that you can do anything you put your mind to! MMAPG:
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now? WATERSON:
Fighting for a belt in the UFC (when they get that women's division going, Fingers crossed) and hopefully owning my own gym, doing what I love to do! Martial Arts. MMAPG:
You've mentioned you're hopefully fighting November 19th in North Dakota recently but weren't sure of the opponent. What promotion will you be fighting for and do you know your opponent yet as the event is only 6 weeks away? WATERSON:
Unfortunately, the card got pushed back 'til next year so I'll have to wait a little longer to fight. MMAPG:
As MMAPlayground strongly supports Female MMA, give a shout out to your sponsors! WATERSON:
No sponsors at the moment but I would love to thank my family, coaches and teammates, and my manager Jahani Curl! They all believe in me! And I just opened a Twitter account, I'm not too good at it but if anybody is interested in following I'm @karatehottiemma
: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us, I'm sure you've just gained many new fans!
* * * * *Follow @karatehottiemma on TwitterMichelle "The Karate Hottie" Waterson on Sherdog.comDISCLAIMER: Views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and are not necessarily those of the staff or affiliates of MMAPlayground.com.