Not many people knew about Ronda Rousey after she defeated Julia Budd at Strikeforce Challengers 20, back on November 18, 2011.
Little did anyone know as she was firing the first salvos to get a crack at then-Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion Miesha Tate, it would be the embryonic stages of Rousey becoming a household name and also the beginning of one of the most heated and memorable rivalries in the history of not just women's MMA, but the entire sport.
Tate at the time, felt Rousey was undeserving due to her having yet to compete at 135. Rousey was quite the opposite, and could see the bigger picture and knew it would be an important fight.
"It'll be great for women's MMA," Rousey said in a joint interview with Tate, on The MMA Hour over two years ago. "It'll be the first highly anticipated fight in women's MMA for a long time. We need to capitalize on the opportunity while we still have it."
Tate asked Rousey, "What happens if I go out there and I just cream you? Then all your hype is just over. Then Ronda was just another pretty face."
Rousey responded with "That's a risk I'm willing to take, and you should be willing to take some risks too."
"I'm willing," Tate said.
Rousey would get her wish, much to Tate's chagrin and the showdown would happen on March 3, 2012. Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, was abuzz that night, and the roof practically blew off in the closing seconds of the opening round, when Rousey finished Tate with her patented armbar, to win the Strikeforce women's bantamweight title.
Rousey would become the champion in only her fifth pro fight, and less than a full years time of turning pro.
The two combatants would continue to exchange barbs throughout the media here and there, and when Rousey became the first-ever woman signed to UFC, which helped launch the promotion's new 135-pound division, it was only a matter of time before their paths would cross again.
Rousey would escape a near defeat and lock up yet another armbar victory in her UFC debut against Liz Carmouche at UFC 157, while Tate took her lumps in a technical knockout loss to Cat Zingano at TUF 17 Finale. That would set up Zingano and Rousey as opposing coaches for the eighteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF).
As fate would have it, the Tate and Rousey feud would be rekindled due to Zingano blowing out her knee in training.
Tate's team would win both the men's and women's division on the show, but most of the discussion was Rousey's behavior toward her archrival throughout the duration of the season. Middle finger salutes and trash talk became the norm, while Tate took a back seat and came out looking more composed and professional than that of Rousey.
On Tuesday's UFC 168 media conference call, the current UFC women's bantamweight champion admitted that it really is just Tate that gets under her skin and it wouldn't be this way if it were anyone else in her weight class.
"If you've really noticed, I've never had a problem with any other opponent that I've ever had, if you think about it," Rousey said. "Everyone thinks I'm this big trash talker, but who have I had a problem with, except for Miesha."
Rousey was asked if she has given thought to the fact that if she beats her on December 28 at UFC 168, she can most likely put an end to the bitter rivalry between them and move on.
"I want to win every single fight and they are all equally important to me no matter who it's against, but it would be nice to not have to deal with her anymore," she said.
Tate spoke on the UFC 168 media call also, and said, "I see a lot of ways that she can be exploited. Just because it hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean it's not going to happen. I'm going to do something different on the 28th than anyone else has done."
Tate has been in there with her before, and seems quite confident the second time will result in a different outcome.
If Rousey catches her with her go-to submission, the rivalry will more than likely come to an end. Should Tate defy the odds makers and pundits, who heavily favor the champion, the rivalry will live on and become more intense than ever.
Tell us your thoughts in the comments below. What would you rather see, Rousey end the rivalry? Or Tate pull off the upset to set up a rubber match?