Thai / American strawweight Michelle Waterson turned 37 this year but definitely isn’t contemplating retirement. Ahead of UFC 287 she revealed that she had recently signed an eight fight deal,

“I had one fight left on mt contract so we were going back and forth with the UFC and I’m happy to say that I re-signed for eight more fights,” she told

Waterson faces Luana Pinheiro in Las Vegas this weekend. She has lost her last two fights but isn’t getting too down about her most recent defeat.

She was submitted by  Amanda Lemos at UFC on ABC 3 but believes she was winning the fight right up until the moment the Brazilian caught her with an armbar,

“What I take away from the last fight  that I lost is that I was winning the fight until I wasn’t which is what you get when you step into the octagon. MMA is so unforgiving. You can go left instead of right or dip instead of dodge and you lose the fight.”

Develop and evolve

She points out that in recent weeks some of the most dominant champions on the roster have also been finished in fights they appeared to be winning,

“It happened to Shevchenko, it happened to Adesanya so I walked away with my head held high knowing it was a moment of failure and it doesn’t represent who I am as a fighter. I have so much more to give.”

Waterson has been on the UFC roster since 2015. She has been in with some of the best fighters in the division like Carla Esparza, Joanna Jędrzejczyk and Rose Namajunas.

But despite being one of the most experienced fighters in the division she is determined to ‘develop and evolve’,

“I was anticipating fighting at the end of (last) year so I didn’t take much time off. I really took time to grow and develop and evolve as a fighter. That’s the secret sauce, to grow with the sport. If you stop learning you get left in the dust.”

Knowing herself

Waterson might have lost her last two fights. But her confidence remains intact and she says she has always known that she was a fighter,

“Before I even became a professional I knew that I was a fighter, that I had martial arts running through my blood but nobody knew me. So I stepped into this arena knowing who I was. I think people sometimes forget these things, because they get on this huge platform called the UFC and then they start feeding into the chatter and the noise and letting other people tell them who they are.”

Her opponent comes into this contest on the back of a an eight fight winning streak that includes two UFC wins. Waterson knows her opponent is on the ay up but believes she will be able to halt that momentum,

“I think Luana is an up and comer who is eager and hungry to crack the top ten and they put me in front of her to stop her. I think that she’s had some success but I don’t think she’s met the same opposition that I have. I’m going to show her there are levels to this game.”

But Waterson believes she has seen it all before and thinks her experience will be vital when she faces the up and coming Brazilian,

“I know her background, she’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and judo. Those are her strengths and we’re prepared for them. It’s not something I haven’t seen before.”