Michelle Waterson hoped three wins in a row in the UFC strawweight division would be enough to warrant a title shot but it appears she still has more work to do.
Rumors began swirling last week that Waterson was potentially in line for a shot at the belt against new UFC strawweight champion Jessica Andrade after she knocked out Rose Namajunas back in May to win the title.
Waterson immediately called for a title shot following Andrade’s win and she has continued to make that plea in the weeks since the fight ended.
“I thought Rose was doing amazing. Andrade showed tons of heart, came back, did that freaking Andrade slam I was talking about and took it home. I’m glad Rose is OK, congratulations Andrade,” Waterson said back in May.
“Hopefully, it’s me and you next.”
Despite those rumors, sources close to the strawweight champion confirmed to MMAFighting that no serious discussions had taken place regarding Andrade’s next opponent.
On Saturday night at UFC 238, former Olympic hopeful Tatiana Suarez did her best to secure a spot at the top of the contender’s list with a unanimous decision victory over Nina Ansaroff on the preliminary card, which moved her to 8-0 in her career including five straight wins in the UFC.
Suarez revealed after UFC 238 that she was dealing with a neck injury leading into the fight against Ansaroff, which could potentially delay her return to action.
So it remains to be seen who the UFC will choose as Andrade’s next opponent but UFC president Dana White emphatically shut down the notion that Waterson will be getting a title shot following her last win over Karolina Kowalkiewicz.
“Definitely not Michelle Waterson,” White answered when asked if she was next in line for a title shot. “Michelle Waterson doesn’t even want to fight until September-October or something and she’s ranked too low. But Tatiana Suarez, I want to make sure her neck is OK.”
If Waterson is out of the running, Andrade still has several choices available for her first title defense.
Suarez is obviously a candidate for the title shot as well as Namajunas, if the former champion asks for an automatic rematch. There is also a potential rematch against former strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who earned a lopsided decision over Andrade back in 2017.