Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey’s rivalry will surely go down as the most storied in WMMA history. Their beef was placed under the microscope during their recent stint on The Ultimate Fighter, and came to the boil at UFC 168. ‘Rowdy’ defeated ‘Cupcake’ in a rematch of their early 2012 meeting, once again submitting Tate with a signature armbar.
Tate feels as though she was not at her best in the co-main event at 168, as she described to Fox Sports:
"I felt like sh-t, to put it quite frankly," Tate said. "Watching it again, I looked better than I felt, but I really had to push myself because I felt horrible. I was trying to push out of first gear but it didn't really happen. I did a lot of good things defensively but I wasn't able to do some of the offensive things that we worked on."
Tate claims that an adrenaline dump was to blame for her performance, and may have been brought on by the masses of support for her on fight night. Rousey had been portrayed as the villain in the lead up to their clash and the support for Tate was overwhelming.
“You feel pressure not to let everyone down. It's not my fight then, it becomes a fight I'm fighting for everyone else. It puts pressure on an athlete. Especially me because I don't like to let people down. I felt a tremendous amount of pressure to not let everyone down. And then I heard people chanting my name.”
“Oh my gosh. Normally it should pump you up, but I was like, 'You guys are stressing me out.' I love the fans but it just added to it. It was enough pressure by itself. I didn't need the whole world to think, 'You have to beat this girl.’ It was just weird.”
Being the focus of the entire MMA world for an extended period of time must be very stressful, but this is what Tate signed up for. Hopefully she is able to overcome the inner turmoil next time around. At the highest level of any sport there exists a significant amount of public pressure.
"I don't care if I fought her 100 times and I lost the first 99 of them. I would fight her 100 times, as many times as they let me. If she beats me nine times out of 10, that might be the reality of it, but I would be game to fight her any day at any time they'd let me. And if I could ever work that and prove I deserve another title shot, or even if it's not for a title, if I ever do earn the opportunity to fight her again, I would love to."
It’s refreshing to see that Tate isn’t being a bad sport, especially after Rousey refused her hand shake in the wake of the bout. ‘Cupcake remains level-headed:
' She won fair and square. Win or lose, I would've done the same thing. She didn't reciprocate and that's fine. That's her choice but she doesn't get to dictate what I do and what I don't do. At the moment I felt that was the right thing to do, to show that I respected her as an athlete. That's what it was about. Now that it's over, you won't see me trying to shake her hand anytime soon."
Tate is 0-2 in her UFC career so far, not a great start by anyone’s standards. All things considered, will Tate ever have a hope at title glory, or is she destined to play second fiddle to the champion of the division?