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Miesha Tate: Win over Jessica Eye is 'final step' toward Ronda Rousey trilogy fight

The No. 2-ranked UFC women's Bantamweight says a win over Jessica Eye at UFC on FOX 16 should punch her ticket to a trilogy fight against current champion and long-time rival, Ronda Rousey.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK -- Miesha Tate was among the cast of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighters who took to the stage for the official unveiling of Reebok's "UFC Fight Kit" (video) at Skylight Modern, an event venue on Manhattan's west side, this past Tuesday (June 30, 2015).

Women can often be picky as far as fashion is concerned and the No. 2-ranked women's Bantamweight agreed, telling they are "definitely the most picky." That is also the case when it comes to combat sports apparel.

"We have a little bit more requirements and I think females, naturally, are more picky about how we look and stuff," said Tate, after the press event's conclusion. "Guys are like, 'I don't care I'm going to go beat someone up.' We are like 'we are going to go beat someone up, but we want to look good doing it.'"

Tate said she arrived in New York early on Sunday morning and that was the first time she "got to see, feel and try on" the Reebok fight kit. The vice president of Reebok, Todd Krinski, said that "performance" and "customization" are the two guiding principles behind the clothing line, which he mentioned would be the "highest level of performance gear" that the fighters will be able to get.

As for input on the fight kit, the former Strikeforce Bantamweight champion said she hasn't really have "much say with the initial process."

"They didn't reach out to me specifically as much because I'm not technically a Reebok athlete yet, but I'm hoping that comes to fruition," said Tate, who takes on Jessica Eye on July 25, 2015, at UFC on FOX 16. "I filled out the questionnaire like everyone else did and that has kind of been my input. Since I've been here they've been like very 'if you don't like something, if you do like something, let us know.'

"I know that the kit was specifically designed with my style in mind so, that is pretty cool. I think the general consensus of fighter feedback is going to apply in most areas for women across the board. I really do. I like the fact that the waist band is not a scrunchy one and it doesn't dig in. It lies really flat which is nice. The sports bra is built really well. It's good. It's quality stuff."

The fact that UFC was having its fighters model the new Reebok attire was "kind of funny" to Tate, and she said she was "teasing the guys that they had to do a cat walk and the whole prance thing," but she was "happy to be a part" of the day's festivities.

The sponsorship landscape has drastically changed now that Reebok has struck an exclusive six-year, $70 million deal with UFC, eliminating all other sponsors in the Octagon and at any UFC-related events. Tate has some concerns, but feels she is "absolutely" in good hands with her management team as UFC heads into this new era.

"Kevin Harvick, and KHI management managing me and a lot of his sponsors have endorsed me as well," she said. "That has been a great move. Hopefully, we will be able to find a more creative way to involve the sponsors with the Reebok deal.

"I'm going to lose some of them, you know? But there are some that are down for me and they are going to stick by side, hopefully, for the long haul for the rest of my career. We just have to be a little more creative now that they are no longer able to be represented in the Octagon."

Outside of fighting, Tate has a burgeoning career in broadcasting and has already been featured on several UFC pre- and post-fight shows on FOX Sports 1, and she is excited about having an outlet away from fighting and a possible future career.

"Working with FOX has been amazing. That has been a really cool part of my career and very happy to be able to step into something a little bit different and something that could lead to a transition when I'm no longer fighting. I love broadcasting. I feel very comfortable in front of the camera.

"Fortunately for me it's easy for me to talk in front of the camera. I like being able to be a part of MMA in a different aspect. Kind of getting to break it down and provide the fans with information and incite that otherwise they might not know and my particular insight on the women's division."

Being the lone woman fight analyst among the male commentators like Dominick Cruz, Kenny Florian, Rashad Evans, Brian Stann and others is very special to her, and she was thrilled to be a voice for the women of UFC on a platform such as FOX Sports.

"The women needed representation in front of the camera," Tate said proudly. "Two women's divisions now and we definitely needed some female representation up there on the table to talk about it. MMA is MMA, whether it's men or women, but there are some different insights that I can provide being a female fighter that the men can't. So it's nice to have that."

The FOX Sports analyst won't be behind the mic next, though, she'll be inside the Octagon against the No. 5-ranked Eye at United Center in Chicago, Ill., on July 25, 2015. Tate has gone against the current Bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey, twice already and is the only fighter to go into the third round against "Rowdy." A win against Eye is imperative if she wants to make the trilogy fight a reality against her longtime rival, who admitted recently to disliking Bethe Correia more than her.

"This is definitely an important fight. The next fight is always the most important, but this one is really the final step in the right direction before I get another fight with Ronda. I mean, it's a girl I've never fought before. She's up and coming, but she's good. She's well rounded. She has good striking. Stylistically I like the match up. I feel very confident about it. I feel really good going into the fight. I realize at this point in my career there are no easy fights. You know what I mean? I know it is going to be a tough one, but like you said, it is important and I want to go out there and get a finish."

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