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Gene LeBell: 'Miesha Tate is better than she's getting credit for'

A complement from the Ronda Rousey camp? Oh my ...

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Most messages coming out of the camp of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women's Bantamweight queen Ronda Rousey regarding her next challenger Miesha Tate are typically not that flattering.

Judo legend and Rousey mentor, Gene LeBell, is an exception, however, as the mild-mannered mastermind behind the "sadistic" Rousey is fine with giving credit where credit is due, but he's also realistic in that regard.

"I think Miesha Tate might give her a hell of a go herself. Miesha Tate -- people underestimate her. She's a damned good wrestler, fighter," LeBell told Bruce Buffer on his "It's Time" podcast (via FOX Sports). "If worst comes to worst, it could go into the second round."

Both ladies are coming off of proficient wins -- Tate handed Jessica Eye a loss (highlights here) at UFC on FOX 16, while "Rowdy" starched Bethe Correia (highlights here) in 34 seconds at UFC 190 earlier this month -- and will collide at a date yet to be determined.

This will be "Cupcake's" third crack at Rousey, after coming up short in Strikeforce -- where she lost her 135-pound title -- and at the UFC 168 pay-per-view (PPV) back in Dec. 2013.

It was Tate's last meeting with the 28-year-old former Olympic Judoka -- where she became the first fighter to take Rousey into deeper waters (past round one) -- as well as her powerful showing against "Evil" in Chicago, Ill., that have her exuding confidence in the lead up to their trilogy tussle.

"For one thing, I've been beating everyone who could potentially deserve a shot," Tate told Ariel Helwani of "The MMA Hour" (via MMA Fighting). "So you can't tell me that there's a single girl out there who deserves it more than I do right now. I'm confident in saying that because I told everyone that I would work my way back to the title and I would earn that, and I have. I've done it, and if there's someone else who people are questioning, who's like, ‘hey, what about this girl? She might deserve it more.' Then okay, I'll take her out too."

You hear that, Amanda Nunes? You better slow your roll.

Tate rides a four-fight win streak into her impending title clash with Rousey, boasting wins over Liz Carmouche, Rin Nakai, Sara McMann and Eye, none of whom contain the secret ingredient needed to take out the latter, she believes.

"I think I've already proven that I have something that so far none of the other girls in the division have been able to prove that they have or they possess," claimed Tate.

When the fight eventually takes place, "Uncle Gene," as Rousey calls him, will likely be in the latter's corner. LeBell was not in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil -- the site of her most recent title defense over Correia -- but you can bet he will have his stopwatch handy when the duo collide -- presumably -- in the states.

At least Tate can take solace in knowing that she is not the most disliked fighter Rousey has ever faced ... if that helps.

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