Michelle Waterson may have no ill will towards Paige VanZant, but when it comes to technique and talent as a fighter, Waterson is going to say it how she sees it.
Waterson and VanZant are set to headline UFC on FOX 22 on Dec. 17 in a high profile women’s strawweight bout. To the general public, VanZant is most known for her stint on this year’s season of Dancing with the Stars.
Many fans and fellow fighters took the opportunity to take jabs at VanZant over it, but Waterson is all support.
“I think it’s great,” Waterson said on The MMA Hour (transcription via MMA Fighting). “I think, I sent her out a tweet when she was on ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ they say ‘don’t hate the player, hate the game.’ I can’t hate on that, she’s a beautiful person, she’s a great dancer.”
Waterson is not ready to offer up the same kind of compliments on VanZant’s fighting skills though.
“As far as her fighting skill, I wouldn’t go so far as to say she’s amazing,” Waterson said. “She is where she is because of her hunger.
“I feel like she’s very green in whole aspect of fighting. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. … In all of her fights, it’s just like dancing. If you are dancing with someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, they throw you off. They throw your rhythm off and that’s what Paige is doing in her fights. Her style is very erratic and unpredictable, and it’s been throwing people off, people who have a fight with her.”
Waterson has not fought since her UFC debut in July 2015 after dealing with a series of injuries.
“It’s been a long time since I fought and I’ve just kind of been, injury after injury and just trying to stay positive through the whole thing,” Waterson said. “I guess they say it really is true what they say, patience is a virtue and I was just trying to stay patient through it all and I got the news we were going to headline and I was just really excited.”