There's no doubt of a sort of women's revolution in sports in recent years. What with Ronda Rousey dominating the UFC and MMA scene, to the WWE increasing the importance of their women, elevating their status and giving them a role just as important as their male counterparts. In addition, I went to my first independent professional wrestling show this past weekend, appropriately in the form of London's all-female punk rock style Pro-Wrestling EVE.
The centre of this revolution as mentioned before, has been #RondaRousey. Rousey was the last #Strikeforce Women's champion and upon its folding and absorption by the UFC, was awarded the inaugural #UFC Women's championship. Rousey would remain undefeated for 4 years from 2011-2015, being dubbed the "baddest woman on the planet". The majority of bouts lasting less than a minute before suffering her first loss to Holly Holm for the title. Following that, she would suffer her second loss to Amanda Nunes, and her mystique was gone.
This post isn't about Ronda Rousey, however. Though she was never defeated by her, perhaps Rousey's biggest rival in #MMA was the recently retired #MieshaTate. How, if Rousey never suffered a loss by her hand, could Tate be considered her biggest threat? Rousey is often considered one of the top fighters in the world but there's no doubt, whether she'd like to admit it or not, that Tate always had her number.
But it's not just in regards to Rousey that I rate Tate so highly:
Miesha Tate Gave Ronda Rousey The Longest Fight Of Her Career, Twice.
In regards to Rousey, this rivalry existed way back before the UFC women's division existed. In 2012, Rousey made her Bantamweight debut in Strikeforce, competing for the Strikeforce Bantamweight Women's Championship and defeating, you guessed it, Miesha Tate. Tate was Rousey's first high-profile fight and was expectantly the toughest of her career up to that point. Not only was this Rousey's longest fight, it was the first time she was taken past the first minute. Tate would also last longer than anybody else in Rousey's patented armbar, literally having to have her arm twisted to unnatural proportions before submitting, unlike Rousey's prior opponents, who would submit in 5 seconds or less.
The two would meet again in the UFC just over a year later for the Bantemweight Women's Championship. Up until that point in Rousey's career, her longest fight had been her first with Tate. Who would go on to break that record? Miesha Tate. This time, Tate would become the first person to take Rousey into the second round, and then the third.
Miesha Tate Beat The Woman, Who Beat The Woman.
As previously mentioned, Rousey ate her first loss at the hands (or foot, in this case) of Holly Holm, who was also undefeated at the time. The loss sent shockwaves through the MMA and sporting world. Somebody had done it, somebody had defeated the undefeatable. During that moment, Holm was the best. She had done the unthinkable and now she was the one to beat. You already know where I'm going with this. Who beat Holm? Miesha freaking Tate. Handing her her first loss and in the process, would also take Holm through the longest fight of her career, into the fifth round, and winning the UFC Bantamweight Championship along with it.
She's Tough As Nails
Tate has accomplished a lot throughout her career, perhaps most credited to just the sheer resilience of this woman- it's unreal. Did you see just how much Rousey had to twist her arm before she tapped in their first meeting?
The stand out example of Tate's resilience, however, is her fight against Julie Kedzie in Strikeforce in August of 2012. Tate was on the receiving end of a beating for 3 rounds, having little offence and even getting dropped a few times. Towards the end, Tate looked exhausted and it seemed inevitable that Kedzie would take this one with relative ease. Tate however would not, just would not go down. What followed has to be one of the greatest comebacks in history. Following a devastating kick to the face and a series of hammerfists after she'd been grounded, Tate would respond by managing to hook in an armbar, and pick up the win. Following the victory, the first thing Tate did after the bell rang, was make sure Kedzie was okay- another reason she is one of my favourites, the respect she has.
Tate would retire from MMA following her losing to Raquel Pennington at UFC 205 on November 12th, 2016 via unanimous decision. Tate announced her retirement from mixed martial arts, stating,
"It's not my time right now, I've been doing this for over a decade. Thank you so much for being here, I love this sport forever but it's not my time anymore."
Tate received a loud ovation from the crowd at Madison Square Garden amidst her departure.
Tate has been praised throughout her career, with her ground game being described as "powerful and dominant". Several fighters including Rousey, typically avoided going to the ground with her.
Cat Zinganno said of Tate,
I looked up to Miesha since I started this sport.
Her greatest rival, Ronda Rousey, has described Tate as
"An amazing fighter."
Now really, who's the real "baddest woman on the planet"?