If Felice Herrig is nervous about her UFC 229 main card matchup with Michelle Waterson, she certainly isn’t letting on. Full of smiles and energy for her interview with UFC.com, she donned a Khabib-style Papakha hat that she saw in the corner of the room and insisted on wearing it for the entire wide-ranging discussion and keeping the staff in stitches throughout.
“You can’t take me serious wearing this, can you?”
Come Saturday night, however, it will be all business. Herrig and Waterson are alumni of the Oxygen show Fight Girls, and while there’s no particular animosity between the two, there’s no mystery about how Herrig imagines her 22nd MMA fight playing out.
“I would love to knock Michelle out.”
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UFC: It’s fight week, how are you feeling? How was camp?
FH: I feel great! I feel the best I’ve ever felt [during] fight week. I mean, High Energy Felice is good… you don’t want to see Low Energy Felice. I’m a b----[laughs]. This camp was the best I’ve ever experienced. I know I probably say that every time, but I always want to keep getting better and have my next camp be better than the last. If my last camp was better than this one, I would not be as confident as I am now.
UFC: How do you personally keep finding ways to evolve this far into the fight game?
FH: There’s always room to improve. This far into the game you can’t get stagnant. I knew this times there were things I wanted to work on and things I needed to work on, and I just made them happen. I think as you’re constantly evolving and getting better at certain things, then you can keep building. You’re always building and building; my building is getting taller. I’m a skyscraper now [laughs].
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UFC: What memories do you still carry of being on Fight Girls?
FH: I have great memories from the show. It was 2007 on the Oxygen channel. It was the first taste I got of doing something really big. Michelle and I were cool on the show, we had no beef. She ended up not staying on the show as long because she had lost, so we didn’t get to bond as much, but I like Michelle. She’s cool. We’re still gonna fight each other though [laughs]!
UFC: You’ve obviously seen Michelle fight before. What are some things she brings to the Octagon, and where will you have the advantage on Saturday?
FH: Michelle is quick. She’s got snappy kicks. She’s flexible. She’s got a good submission game. But I think I have good striking; maybe not as fast but definitely stronger. I can hurt Michelle. I really think I can hurt her.
UFC: Is there a particular way you want to end the fight? Is there a shot you want to call?
FH: I would love to knock Michelle out. I know it sounds mean because I don’t not like Michelle, but if I was going to pick a way to win a fight, it would be by knockout. For sure.
UFC: How does it feel to be fighting on such a massive Pay-Per-View event?
FH: It’s crazy to be on what is said to be the biggest card in UFC history. My fight was already booked with Michelle before it was announced that Conor and Khabib were the main event, and once I heard that, I knew this was going to be a huge card. It’s nice to fight on cards that are going to get a lot of exposure and attention because it brings more eyes to my fight as well.
UFC: If someone watching UFC 229 had never seen you fight previously, how would you describe to them what they’ll see?
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A post shared by Felice Herrig (@feliceherrig) on Oct 3, 2018 at 3:11pm PDT
FH: If somebody has never seen me fight, I think they can expect the unexpected. Every fight that I’m in is different. I kind of depends what I’m feeling when I’m inside [the Octagon]. I always have a good pace and I’m always go-go-go, non-stop. You won’t see me backing down, that’s for sure.
UFC: Lastly, why did you want to wear the Khabib-hat during this interview?
FH: I wanted to wear this during my interview because I didn’t get a chance to get my hair dyed before I left. No, actually I really like Khabib and I saw this and I was like “I gotta have it.”
Steve Latrell, Gavin Porter & Zac Pacleb are writers and producers for UFC.com. You can follow them on Twitter @TheUFSteve, @PorterUFCnews and @ZacPacleb