In past years, Ronda Rousey, Conor McGregor and Meisha Tate have bared all on the covers of US sporting magazines like ESPN and Sports Illustrated. ESPN’s ‘Body Issue’ is usually an internet breaker, featuring as it does a nude sports star on the front cover.
This year’s issue has seen the honour go to UFC Strawweight and former Invicta champion, Michelle Waterson [14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC], aka ‘The Karate Hottie’. Waterson is no stranger to modelling, having featured in ad campaigns and beginning her MMA career as a ring girl.
ESPN has a behind-the-scenes video on the shoot and a good interview with Michelle here.
Posting on social media this morning, she said, “I’M ON THE COVER OF #espnbodyissue2017 Words can’t begin to describe how I’m feeling right now. I’m so honored, and blessed to the opportunity be placed among these to level athletes. I want to thank @espn for capturing the true essence of me showing that I can be strong, confident, vulnerable and free all at once! I was scared to bare it all and allow myself to be vulnerable, but I realized that stepping outside of your comfort zone is what makes you stronger! I couldn’t have done any of this without the support of my husband @joshuagomez12 he taught me how to love all aspects of my body, at all the different stages. Pre baby, pregnancy, post baby, off season, in season, win or lose I was always beautiful, and I will forever be thankful. I embrace my body because it is a reflection of my life story! Thank you all for all the love and support!!! You guys are the best”