Fight fans who have watched Strikeforce fighter Ronda Rousey do her thing in the cage have certainly felt compelled to give her a hand for her efforts to this point in her combat sports career. Harmless enough, but what you don't want to do is give her an arm.
If you do, she's likely to break it -- out of habit if for no other reason.
Rousey has taken the women's mixed martial arts (WMMA) scene by storm, winning all four of her professional fights by way of first round armbar submissions. Accordingly, one wouldn't think there would be a long line of ladies who are dying to get into the cage with her, after seeing the havoc she has wreaked on the limbs of those gone before them.
That might ring true for most female fighters, but not Strikeforce's Miesha Tate, who will take on Rousey at Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey on Sat., March 3, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio, for the Women's Bantamweight Championship.
Tate was a guest tonight (Feb. 6, 2012) on HDNet's "Inside MMA" to discuss her upcoming fight, in which she confidently believes she should be favored:
Rousey essentially got her title match by calling out the champion and getting the attention of the Strikeforce matchmakers with her bravado and aggressive tweeting.
She's made it known that she thinks she can beat Tate and has even sounded a little cocky at points.
According to Tate, she's not bothered by the banter. It just adds more fuel to her fire:
"I don't really listen to much of anything that Ronda says. I don't watch her interviews. I get a little bit of that drift that comes through Twitter. When people say, 'Oh, you know she said this, she said that.' Half the time, I honestly think it just makes her sound like an idiot. I mean, that's just being brutally honest. I think she's pretty delusional. I have yet to see Ronda actually fight. I've seen her go out there and do her Judo and whatnot. But she hasn't ever actually brought a fight and that's what I'm gonna make her do...fight. Anything that she says is motivation, definitely."
Everyone knows Rousey has ridiculous judo, jiu-jitsu and submission skills. Tate comes from a wrestling background, but she believes it's more than just her wrestling that gives her the edge:
"That's why this fight makes for an interesting match up, because our strengths are in similar areas. We're both really great on the ground. I have wrestling, she has judo. I also feel like I have the edge on the feet and the experience overall. I've been doing this a lot longer. I feel like I'll be able to put it together better. When it comes to mixing everything and meshing it, it's gonna make for an awesome fight. I think people are really gonna enjoy and be entertained."
On top of what she believes is a skill set advantage, "Takedown" also sees problems for Rousey that will be caused by her having to make the weight cut to 135 pounds; a reduction she's never had to make before in her MMA career:
"Yeah and not to mention the weight cut. This is her first drop to 135. Also, no pound allowance. That's gonna change her body dynamics, the way she's used to throwing people around, having that weight behind her is gonna change. So it could even affect her in her training camp. The people she used to throw around...she's gonna be smaller. So, a lot of things are gonna be changing for her, this fight. We're gonna see how that works for her. I just wanna frustrate her. Push her outside that minute and make her second guess and make her wish she never wanted to take this fight."
Of course she wants to win for herself and for the sake of successfully defending her recently acquired belt, but she also realizes that this fight is bigger than just her. It's bigger than Ronda Rousey. It's bigger than any of that.
It's about putting WMMA on the map and maybe sending a message to UFC President Dana White in the process:
"It's a huge opportunity. If the women can deliver, like I believe we're going to, it can say big things for our future -- not only in Strikeforce, but hopefully, eventually in the UFC."
White has long said that there will never be WMMA in the Octagon, citing the lack of diversity and the amount of high-level female fighters in the sport as his reason for not wanting to promote it.
Even if Tate and Rousey put on an amazing show, it still does not remedy the issue of the need for depth on the roster of really talented female fighters.
Let's enjoy this female fight, and all others, while they last.