The term "humble in victory and defeat" is almost a cliché these days, but if you were looking for a perfect of example of someone that has demonstrated those qualities, you need only look as far as #MichelleWaterson.
Like a true martial artist, Waterson praised her opponent and congratulated Namajunas on her win.
“First, I have to say well done to Rose because she fought really well,” Waterson said. “You know, there were a lot of little things that I did [wrong] and at this level, a lot of little things wrong can make a huge difference. Hindsight is a great thing to have, but you can’t be like, ‘what if I did this’ or ‘what if I did that,' the truth is, I didn’t do that. I don’t want to second guess everything that I’ve done previously because I know that I trained hard and I had a good gameplan. There were just a few small mistakes on my end that cost me the fight and Rose was at the top of her game.”
In the immediate aftermath, Waterson stated in an Instagram post that she’d spent the night breaking the fight down and replaying it in her head. While some fighters would wallow in the pity of defeat, Waterson, instead, had to get straight back into the swing of things with family life back home.
“I really didn’t have all that much time to be sad—my daughter had to be at school on Monday,” Waterson said with a chuckle. “The house was a shambles and, you know, I just came home. I had to get on with it. I’ve started training again already, no sparring or anything, but I’m back on the runs and watching tape and this and that. I don’t want to overthink it either. We can all be our worst critics and I don’t want to overanalyze it and lose sight of the good things I got out of this camp.”
After the fight, some analysts said that Waterson may have lost because she is more suited to fighting at the 105-pound (atomweight) weight limit. Others suggested that the distraction of having her daughter with her during fight week may have also caused her to lose focus.
Reflecting on these two things today, Waterson disputed they were a cause for her defeat.
“No way. Rose didn’t have any size or strength advantage over me,” Waterson said. “She capitalized well on my mistakes. I feel good fighting at strawweight. As for my having my daughter with me, you know, she’s always going to be a part of my life and she’s been with me at every one of my fights. For me to use that as an excuse would be silly of me. She’s a part of my life every day and it had nothing to do with my performance. Her being there is almost part of my routine now—it’s not a reason for why I lost. That sits with me 100-percent.”
Waterson then confirmed that her daughter did watch the fight and what her reaction was after.
“She watched the fight,” Waterson said. “To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. Kids can be brutally honest and sometimes that’s a good trait. They took me to hospital right away after the fight as they wanted to make sure I was okay. I didn’t get back until midnight, but my daughter waited up because she wanted to see me.”
The former Invicta champion then detailed the first time she saw her daughter after the fight and what she said to her.
“That put my heart at ease—all she cared about was Momma, and not that I lost—she just cared about how I was. I told her I was fine and she just gave me a big hug and said, ‘it’s ok Mom, we will get them next time’.”
After a hectic five months with two fights and endless promotional tours, Waterson is now looking forward to living somewhat of a normal life for a while and learning from her mistakes.
“I think it’s most important to analyze the small mistakes and to try and make sure those things don’t happen again,” Waterson said. “A lot of it is just instinctual things I’ve done since I was 10-years-old that I’m still trying to correct. It’s like muscle memory and breaking the habit is really hard to do, but I’m willing to put my time into it. I still have the goal of being a world champion and that doesn’t change. I know I’m capable of it, but I also know I have to work at it.
Waterson then suggested she’d take time off to spend some time with her family before making a return later this year.
“I’m not sure when I will fight again. It’s been a rollercoaster of fights and media ever since the Paige fight,” Waterson said. “I need to spend some quality time with my daughter and my husband, who have both been fantastic for me during this period. I want to enjoy the summer a little bit before getting back into a serious training camp. I have a few bumps and bruises, but no serious injuries or anything from the fight. They are almost gone now and I’m good to go—I’ll be back.”
No doubt Waterson will be back later in 2017 with vengeance on her mind.