Ever since 2009, ESPN has been looking to keep pace with Sports Illustrated with its Body Issue, but instead of supermodels in swimsuits, they get athletes to pose completely nude.
Past covers of the annual magazine have featured the likes of Serena Williams, Diana Taurasi and Hope Solo, and for this year’s issue, UFC hottie Michelle Waterson was one of the several athletes to grace the cover.
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🤣🤣🤣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 have the opportunity to 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😘 . . . . #teamhottie #mma #wmma #karate #karatehottie #hottie #wideawake #kicks #body #flex #confidence #ufc #espn #espnbodyissue #espnw #nm #michellewaterson
She may not be a household name yet, but the 31-year-old Waterson has been studying karate since she was 10, which along with her smokeshow persona, has earned her the nickname “Karate Hottie.” As you can see from the behind-the-scene footage of her Body Issue shoot, it’s definitely a well-deserved nickname.
Joining the likes of tennis star Caroline Wozniacki and soccer player Julie Ertz, Waterson naturally found herself in great company for this issue.