Aug 14, 2012 - Six months ago Miesha Tate was preparing to headline the most anticipated
women's MMA match of this decade. Now, this upcoming Saturday, Tate has been
relegated to a Strikeforce undercard fight on sparsely received Showtime
Extreme. From the outside it's a puzzling demotion, and one that Tate isn't
exactly happy with.
"I think being main event of the undercard is lame," Tate bluntly said on
Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I'm not thrilled about it.
"To me that's really stupid, because [Showtime and Strikeforce] know as well
as I know, that if I win this fight and if Ronda (Rousey) wins her fight, that
puts us in each other's paths again. A potential rematch. The hype on that was
so big before, I think it's the biggest fight in women's MMA. I still think
that. And I think that a rematch would be the next biggest fight in women's
It goes without saying, but the smoldering build-up to Tate's title fight
against Rousey lifted the profile of women's MMA to the highest level it'd seen
since 2009. The pair appeared to develop a genuine dislike for one another, and
for Tate, losing the belt via a grisly first-round armbar did little to settle
the bad blood created by Rousey's brashness.
"I get annoyed by it, honestly," Tate acknowledged.
"To me, it's dumb. She needs to stop talking too much crap, especially about
celebrities and people that aren't even fighters, and stuff like that. To me
that is so childish, like calling out Kim Kardashian and talking crap about
Michael Phelps. It's just like, grow up."
For what it's worth, Tate is still able to give credit where credit is due.
After witnessing Rousey's barrage into pop culture, from a late-night appearance
on Conan to a cover shoot for ESPN the Magazine's annual "Body
Issue," Tate admits her rival has widened the spotlight for women's MMA to a
Nonetheless, her desire for revenge burns deep, and after the breakthrough
success of the first Rousey-Tate blockbuster, she may not be alone in her
pursuit. According to the former champion, a powerful ally, UFC President Dana
White, has already thrown his support behind a potential rematch.
"I think Dana, if I'm not mistaken, has said he'd like to see a rematch
eventually," said Tate.
"He realizes that what Ronda and I bring, we play off of each other well. I
think without me, Ronda would not be at the level that she's at. And somewhat
vice versa ... we kind of ping-ponged off of each other up to here, and now
she's surpassing me in followers and fame, and all that stuff. But it's not over
until it's over. I know I'm still here."
As a top-three fighter in Strikeforce's
shallow 135-pound women's division, Tate has reason to believe a rematch with
Rousey isn't as far-fetched as it may initially seem. The fact that her comeback
fight against Julie Kedzie is lined-up on the same card as Rousey's first
title defense only further fuels her optimism.
To that end, Tate said she went straight to the top to figure out her
"I asked (Strikeforce matchmaker) Sean (Shelby) as well, ‘what do I have to
do?'," Tate divulged.
"He said, 'you know what, a lot of it is fan based. We want to feed the fans
what they want to see; we want to give the fans the entertainment that they
want.' So I think if I can stir up enough interest and maybe poke enough fun,
and win a really good fight in a dominant fashion, then that sets me up
perfectly for a rematch. I'm hoping that I can get it right after this one
fight. I mean, we all saw how quick Ronda got her title shot."
Of course, Tate's appeal for a rematch hinges entirely on Rousey defeating Sarah Kaufman this Saturday. Kaufman, a menacing Canadian
bruiser, is a tall order for any fighter in the division, but ultimately Tate
believes Rousey will be too much for the challenger.
"It would be nice, I think, to see Ronda knocked off her pedestal," said
Tate. "But again, part of me wants me to be the one to do it, so I don't want
Sarah to be the first one to beat her. I want to be the first one to beat her.
And I think that Ronda will beat [Kaufman], because her game plan is a little
easier to implement over a 25-minute period of time than Sarah's is.
"But I want to steal the show from those ladies," she finished. "I want to
have the better fight, and I want people to want to see that rematch, because I
feel like I deserve it."