Michelle Waterson issues statement on UFC on ESPN 24 loss: ‘I’ll be back’

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Michelle Waterson is in positive spirits following her loss to Marina Rodriguez in the UFC on ESPN 24 main event.

Waterson (18-9 MMA, 6-5 UFC) dropped a unanimous decision against Rodriguez (15-1-2 MMA, 4-1-2 UFC) in Saturday’s women’s flyweight headliner at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

With the defeat, “The Karate Hottie” fell to 1-3 in her past four fights. Her previous losses came to former champions Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Carla Esparza, but Rodriguez has yet to achieve that level of career success.

What does that say about Waterson’s future? It remains to be seen. However, it’s clear she’s not giving up on herself. In her first post-fight statement, Waterson made it clear she valued the experience of her loss and is keen to come back stronger (via Instagram):

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Thank you for the dance @marinarodriguezmma one hell of a fight. Thank you @ufc for giving me the opportunity to perform under the lights! Thank you to all my friends, family, and fans for always having my back!! Every time I step into the octagon, I step out a better person. I’ll be back! Love you all

At 35, Waterson’s mission to become UFC champ continues to get more roadblocks added. The fight with Rodriguez was a big task, especially coming on roughly one week’s notice and fighting up a weight class from strawweight, where she’s already undersized.

Waterson gave it her all against Rodriguez, though. After getting outstruck on the feet for three rounds, she got a big takedown in the forth that led to some solid offense. She ultimately couldn’t capitalize, though, and when the five rounds expired was on the losing end.

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Twitter reacts to Marina Rodriguez's win over Michelle Waterson at UFC on ESPN 24