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‘Queen’ Miesha Tate was going to expose Valentina Shevchenko — but Taila Santos beat her to it

UFC 275: Teixeira V Prochazka Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Reigning UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko nearly coughed up her 125-pound title against Brazilian bruiser Taila Santos in the UFC 275 pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event back on June 11, narrowly escaping Singapore with a split-decision victory.

The result came as a surprise to most MMA fans, who are accustomed to “Bullet” treating 125-pound contenders the way Freddy Krueger treats sleepy teenagers. Former women’s bantamweight champion and current flyweight contender Miesha Tate, however, was not surprised.

Just a little disappointed.

“For me, it’s kind of like, ah, it’s been shown,” Tate told The MMA Hour. “Now, people are going to believe in me more to be able to do it. I didn’t want that. I wanted to be the massive underdog. I wanted everybody to count me out. I wanted nobody to think Miesha Tate, five years retired, two kids, coming back 2-1 in the UFC, would be able to take out Valentina Shevchenko. But now, I think people can see a little bit of what I’ve been saying holds some water. I don’t know if that benefits me, but either way, the game plan hasn’t changed.”

The 35 year-old Tate (19-8), coming off a decision loss to Ketlen Vieira last November, has an opportunity to secure her crack at the flyweight crown by defeating former title challenger Lauren Murphy at the upcoming UFC 276 PPV event on July 2 in Las Vegas.

“I know that [Valentina] wants to fight me, it’s no secret,” Tate continued. “I feel like everybody wants to fight me. I’m the uncrowned queen. I’ve got the target on my back almost as big as any champion. Everybody wants to take out the ‘Cupcake.’ But we’re going to get it done on July 2, and I think Valentina and I will lock horns. That’s the plan.”

Not if Murphy has anything to say about it.