Miesha Tate is back ... and she’s looking good.
There was some serious doubt as to whether Tate would still be able to hang in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) after a five-year retirement that saw her have two kids. But, Tate made it clear through 2.5 rounds against Marion Reneau at UFC Vegas 31 that she still had a lot to give, and could potentially be about to show off the best Miesha ever.
“I guess those big moments, when I started fighting I imagined I would get to the top,” she said. “But when I stopped, I never thought I would be right back here. And so happy and at peace, such a different experience. This training camp was phenomenal. Fight week was amazing. Today was incredible, the whole day. I just love the process, so I feel like this is how it’s supposed to be.”
Tate gave a lot of credit to her coaching team for making her comeback fight such a smooth process. She also cited former UFC Bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz, as inspiration for what could be done after a long layoff.
“Dominick Cruz was a huge inspiration for me for this fight,” Tate said. “Because he took such a long time off and I remember when he came back and had an epic finish and a win. And I debated going out there hot in the first round and just taking everything to her. But I wanted to play a smarter game plan so I stayed more reserved.
“I think all the questions were answered, if there were any,” she added. “I knew this already in my heart, my team knew what we were bringing tonight. But I think everyone else was ... the betting odds said it was pretty close when it opened up, no one really knew what to think, right? So fair enough. But I think those questions have been answered now.”
As for what’s next?
“I think I want to let this victory settle, I don’t want to be in a rush for anything,” she said. “But of course I am a woman on a mission here, so I do want to get to the top. I think a fight by the end of the year is reasonable. Now I’m going to go home, kiss my babies, enjoy this hard earned victory. And in the next few weeks we’ll regroup, talk to UFC and get something lined up.
“I’m just going to do what’s right for me,” she continued. “This is the first time I can say in my life that I’m the CEO, there is no one else making decisions. Everybody that’s around me is here to support what I want, my dreams, and my goals. So if it feels right, yeah we’ll do it. But I’m in no rush. I want to make the most, when I do fight for the title against whoever that may be, it’ll be the right time. And we’ll make sure that we’re ready. We’re not going to rush anything but we won’t miss any opportunities either.”
Asked whether she might be interested in a rematch against Holly Holm — who she won the belt from — Tate sounded open to everything.
“They’re all fair game,” she declared. “They can all get it, respectfully.”
“I expected them to come out of the woodwork, so that’s great. I think a fight with Holly a second time would be great. There’s a lot of women in the division, so name em all. I don’t know where I’ll come in at the rankings now, I’m never one to say I deserve this or that, I got to continue to climb. But whoever’s name is on that list to get to the top, that’s fine with me. And I’m sure Holly and I, I have no doubt about it, before I retire her and I will fight again.”
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