Forget "Cyborg" - Ronda Rousey should not look past Miesha Tate

Invicta FC 6 took place last weekend at The Ameristar Casino Kansas City in Kansas City, Missouri and featured a rematch between Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos and Marloes Coenen for the inaugural Invicta FC Featherweight Championship.

In the fourth round, “Cyborg” battered Coenen with strikes to capture the title and surprised those who believed that Ronda Rousey, the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion, would run through the Brazilian with ease. Although Invicta’s thunder was stolen that week largely due to the aftermath of UFC 162 and Rousey’s remarks about “Cyborg”, a lot of experts talked about how competitive a fight between Rousey and Santos would be. “Cyborg” looked lean and clean at the weigh-ins but maybe this fight could materialize someday even if both women fight for different promotions. Loan deals are possible with Invicta FC and a perfect example would be Sarah Kaufman, who is signed to the UFC but is on loan at Invicta FC. Dana White has never been a fan of co-promotion but White seems to have a good relationship with Invicta FC president Sharon Knapp probably because he does not see the organization as a direct competitor. It truly helps the expansion of women’s MMA if they keep on working together.

“I don’t have to fight her at 145 (pounds)”, said Rousey at a recent Q&A segment that was part of UFC’s Fan Expo. “I’m the one that has the belt, she should come to me. I’m not going to be making exceptions or bending over backwards for someone that is a cheater or a disgrace”.

It seems Rousey could not care less about “Cyborg” but she is constantly being asked questions about her counterpart and calling her names like a “cheater” or a “disgrace” will certainly get Santos’ attention. The psychological effect of trash-talking builds fights themselves and Rousey has never been shy about expressing the true nature of her feelings.

Although Rousey may be paying too much attention to the whole “Cyborg” debacle and may not realize the toughest test of her career lies in front of her on December 28th – a co-main event rematch with current UFC foe and Sports Illustrated model, Miesha Tate.

Tate received the title shot when Cat Zingano, the woman she lost to, had to pull out of the fight as well as filming duties for the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter which will be the first coed season in its existence. If the season is as nasty as both fighters and White say it is, then we should be in for a treat (even if they took the Big Brother approach). At least they did something different in regards to the show.

Their first fight took place in Strikeforce on March 3rd, 2012, and it took just under five minutes for Rousey to submit Tate by her infamous armbar. Tate showed promising sings in the beginning of the fight, tagging Rousey on separate occasions while they were on their feet and almost submitted her as well. Even if Rousey’s trainer Edmond Tarverdyan thinks Rousey’s boxing is improving, Tate definitely has better standup experience and has showcased that against the likes of Sarah Oriza, Jessica Bednark and was pummeling Cat Zingano before her downfall in the third round. Tate also has submission wins over experienced fighters such as Zoila Gurgel, Julie Kedzie and submission specialists Marloes Coenen and Hitomi Akano. Rousey’s training partners, Marina Shafir, Manny Gamburyan and pro boxer Vic Darchynian will definitely help tune the overconfident Olympic gold medalist so Tate needs to come out furious – just like she did in their first meeting. Whereas we have not yet seen Rousey’s full potential, Tate has a well-rounded game, complete with gritty wrestling and powerful standup.

Tate is a FILA Grappling Championship silver medalist and she may have the best grappling skills in her weight class but she needs to avoid Rousey’s judo throws at all costs. Keeping Rousey at bay with jabs and eventually power shots should be Tate’s approach in the rematch. She could be working on submission tricks of her own and has vowed to not get caught by Rousey’s infamous signature move.

“Swear to God, she’s not going to armbar me if it’s the last thing I do”, expressed Tate. “I will seriously shoot myself in the face before I leave that cage if she armbars me again”.

If Liz Carmouche taught us anything at UFC 157, it’s that Rousey can be manipulated if one keeps her distance and attacks with submissions without fear – hence Carmouche taking her back and almost submitting her with a rear-naked choke. Tate was almost successful by the same method in their first fight but Tate was too comfortable in the clinch game and eventually almost got her arm torn off.

Tate has graced the pages of Sports Illustrated’s current Body Issue, where she shows off her looks, similar to Rousey’s spread of last year. Tate is also a seasoned veteran at the tender age of twenty-six, with a lot of fights left in her and increasing popularity levels. Apart from Rousey, she is arguably the most popular woman in the UFC.

Rousey seems more interesting in trashing Santos rather than focusing on Miesha Tate. Perhaps both Rousey and Tate are sick of each other at this point but Tate’s career is on the rise and with a win over Rousey, she could turn up being the next Ronda Rousey.

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