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Karolina Kowalkiewicz says fighting Michelle Waterson was ‘very hard’: Don’t fight girls you like

UFC strawweight Karolina Kowalkiewicz believes it is important to “hate” your opponent ahead of a fight — but afterward, drinking beer with them is no problem.

When asked what she had taken away from her recent loss to Michelle Waterson, Karolina Kowalkiewicz had one answer: “Don’t fight with girls you like.”

According to the Polish strawweight, she and Waterson were very friendly ahead of their UFC Philadelphia bout in March, which Waterson won by decision. That made it difficult to fight “The Karate Hottie,” Kowalkiewicz said, and ultimately backfired.

“It was very hard for me, for my mind, because Michelle, she’s one of my biggest idols,” Kowalkiewicz told theScore at UFC 238 media day on Thursday ahead of her fight against Alexa Grasso. “It was hard. But I took my lesson, I changed a few things in my training camp, I sparred only with guys — not with girls — and I’m really, really prepared for this fight.”

Kowalkiewicz, who has lost two in a row, said it’s important for fighters to try their best to feel hatred towards their opponents on fight night.

“All the time I think, ‘She’s a nice girl,’ but on Saturday you hate her, you hate her. ‘She’s a terrible person,’” Kowalkiewicz said. “But after the fight I shake her hand and drink beer with her.”

Kowalkiewicz started her UFC career with three straight wins, including a decision over then-future champ Rose Namajunas. Since then, however, she is 2-4 — which includes an unsuccessful title challenge against Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Kowalkiewicz has also lost to current 115-pound queen Jessica Andrade.

Kowalkiewicz’s bout against Grasso takes place on the UFC 238 preliminary card. The event takes place Saturday at United Center in Chicago and is headlined by flyweight champion Henry Cejudo vs. Marlon Moraes for the vacant bantamweight title.

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