MONDAY NEWS UPDATE 12/19: The challenge issued – Rose Namajunas aiming for Michelle Waterson after her win Saturday (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

By Michael Hiscoe, MMATorch contributor

Rose Namajunas (photo credit Gary A. Vasquez © USA Today Sports)
Former top Strawweight Championship contender, Rose Namajunas has her sights set on “The Karate Hottie.”

Namajunas took to her Instagram account to congratulate Michelle Waterson after her quick submission win over Paige VanZant Saturday night and followed it up with a challenge. The post read: “First off I want to congratulate (Michelle Waterson) on a SPECTACULAR performance! You showed tremendous growth and hunger as a fighter/mother/wife/cool person since knowing you so hats off to you! Secondly I want to acknowledge the messages I’ve been getting from my fans that this is the next matchup y’all want to see! Me too! Make happen Dana White, UFC.”

The matchup could make sense as both are marketable fighters and both hold dominant wins over VanZant. Namajunas hasn’t fought since March when she lost to Karolina Kowalkiewicz, while a win over Waterson would be important to keep her in the title picture. For Waterson, wins over two of UFC’s most popular strawweights would make her an immediate contender.

Namajunas was ranked no. 6 in’s December Rankings. Waterson missed the top 10 but may likely make an appearance next month.

Waterson and UFC are yet to respond, but with women’s fights doing well on Fox this year, Waterson vs. Namajunas could be a good main event for a Fox show for the first half of next year.

Hiscoe’s Analysis: I like the fight as it would be a good test to see where Waterson fits in the strawweight division. If she can beat Namajunas, she would prove that she undoubtedly belongs with the best at 115 pounds. If Namajunas wins, it will be a step towards another opportunity at the championship. Waterson may be undersized for the division, but her overall talent level has been able to make up for it thus far. Namajunas is still growing as a fighter each time out, and could be able to make a big statement with a win over Waterson should the matchup take place.


-The UFC on Fox live broadcast this Saturday night drew 2.69 million viewers. Comparatively, the ABC “Charlie Brown” special drew 2.84 million, the movie “Big Game” on CBS drew 3.33 million, “A Pentatonix Christmas Special on NBC drew 3.70 million, and the SNL Christmas 2016 special drew 4.06 million on NBC. It was the lowest viewed show of all programs during that two hour Saturday night prime time window, but did better than all but the “Saturday Night Live Chrismas Special” among the coveted 18-49 adult demo. Fox did a .09 rating among adults 18-49, compared to 1.0 on NBC, 0.6 on ABC, and 0.6 on CBS. So while viewership was lower, advertiser coveted demographics were stronger.

-The UFC 206 pre-show rating two weekend’s ago on FS1 drew 771,000 viewers.

-An uncensored version of the heated, expletive-filled back and forth verbal battle between Dominick Cruz and Cody Garbrandt from Saturday’s Fox broadcast has made its way to YouTube. It was heavily edited on Saturday night’s live broadcast, leading to Cruz scolding Garbrandt and asking him to keep it clean, noting they’re on national live broadcast TV.

-Former UFC fighter Cody East was arrested Sunday on domestic violence charges and is currently being held on bail. East was recently cut after two losses in two UFC fights and had been discovered on the “Dana White: Lookin’ For a Fight” web series. UFC faced some criticism for the hire due to East’s previous criminal record.

NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: SUNDAY NEWS DIGEST 12/18: New title contender, new prospect emerges, end of a legendary career (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)

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