‘She’s one of my idols, but I have to hurt her’ – UFC’s Kowalkiewicz on Waterson fight (VIDEO)
Kowalkiewicz and Waterson are two of the UFC’s most eye-catching women’s fighters, and victory on Saturday will potentially push one of the strawweights closer to the title currently held by Rose Namajunas.
Kowalkiewicz beat Namajunas back in 2016, but the Pole has since struggled for consistency.
She heads into Saturday’s fight having lost three of her past five fights, including a title tilt against countrywoman Joanna Jedrzejczyk.Also on rt.com UFC star Michelle 'Karate Hottie' Waterson shows amazing flexibility with double high-kick (VIDEO)
In ‘The Karate Hottie’ Waterson, 33, Kowalkiewicz faces one of the classiest women’s fighters in the sport, with exceptional striking skills and kicking techniques that give credence to her moniker.
But while Kowalkiewicz said she admires Waterson, it will not stop her “hurting her” on Saturday.
“It’s a great match-up, I really like Michelle and I don’t want to hurt her, but I have to,” Kowalkiewicz told reporters on Thursday.
“I know Michelle is a great fighter, a great person, she’s one of my idols, this is a big honor for me to fight with her.
“This is my job, I respect all fighters, all women fighters, this is part of my job that I have to punch somebody.”
Waterson has continued to juggle fighting at the pinnacle of her sport with bringing up her eight-year-old daughter Araya, who is an ever-present at her mom’s fights.
Kowalkiewicz has recently spoken of her own desire to become a mother, as retirement beckons for the veteran of 15 professional fights, including 12 wins.
In contrast to Waterson, and given her age, the Pole feels it would be difficult to continue once she has had a child.
“[Waterson’s] a very nice person, very beautiful. She’s a mother and she’s still fighting, all her career she’s on the top, this is something amazing.
“No, no, now I’m 34, so [I wouldn’t continue],” Kowalkiewicz said.
That key women's strawweight bout on the main card at #UFCPhiladelphia now is official. Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Michelle Waterson hit their marks at today's official weigh-ins. https://t.co/KYtEUpojHFpic.twitter.com/cbxqzmo1gh— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) March 29, 2019
Ultimately any admiration will temporarily be left cageside once hostilities commence at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday - although once the fight is over, Kowalkiewicz said respect will be resumed.
“I never told her [how much I admire her], but maybe after the fight,” she joked.