UFC Bantamweight Miesha Tate entered mixed martial arts much like many of her male counterparts, through wrestling. She began wrestling in high school and in 2005 would win the nationals at the world team trials in her weight division. While in college, Tate joined a MMA gym that was being run by current UFC Bantamweight Bryan Caraway. Tate began taking amateur fights, and pretty quickly she put together a respectable run of fives wins and one loss.
Very few MMA promotions were doing female bouts at this point, but in 2007 Tate would debut against Jan Finney at Bodog’s Hook N Shoot event which featured a womens one night tournament. Tate would get a unanimous decision win over Finney, but before the night was over she would also have her first MMA loss. In the semi final round Tate would get knocked out with a headkick thirty seconds into the first round. Tate would fight twice in 2008, and win both matches, but the first one was an important win. Tate took on Elaina Maxwell at a Strikeforce event in San Jose, California, and that win would be the first win she picked up in a division she would one day dominate in.
The landscape of women’s MMA was a shallow pool, but Tate was taking any fight she could get. In 2009 she really hit the ground running, and fight after fight she would get more and more comfortable in the ring. She would pick up two first round wins early in the year, and she would be invited to face Lizbeth Carreiro for the FCF Bantamweight Title. In the the third round of the bout, Tate got ahold of Carreiro’s neck and got the tap to pick up her first title. Tate was then invited back to Strikeforce to face another future UFC women’s bantamweight named Sarah Kaufman who was undefeated. Kaufman would get the better of Tate, and she would get her second loss via unanimous decision. Before the year was out, Tate would get back in the winning column with a highlight reel head kick knockout win over Sarah Oriza.
To kick off 2010, Tate would defend her FCF title with a first round win, and a few months later she would go back to Strikforce for a chance to get into the 2010 Women’s 135 pound tournament. Tate would get a win over submission ace Zoila Gurgel in the first round with an armbar, and earn her slot in the one night tournament. Tate would pick up two unanimous decisions over Maiju Kujala and Hitomi Akano to win the tournament and a crack at the current Strikeforce Champion Marloes Coenen. In the fourth round of the fight with Coenen, Tate would secure a head and arm choke and get the tap and unseat the defending champion.
Tate was matched up with a girl who was taking women’s MMA by storm. Judo Olympic Bronze medalist Ronda Rousey was only 4-0 in her professional MMA career, but everyone she face she would do the same thing to. In the first round Rousey would get ahold of her opponent, take them down, and armbar them. One after one. Rousey was signed and given an immediate title shot against Tate, and like five women before her, Tate would get taken down and submitted in the first round via armbar. In August of 2012, Tate would get back in the winning column with a third round win over womens MMA pioneer Julie Kedzie.
In 2013 the UFC announced that they would be adding a 135 lbs weight division to their roster, and Tate was one of the fighters tapped to be a part of it. In her UFC debut, Tate would take on Cat Zingano at The Ultimate Fighter 17 finale, and the winner would be the next in line at Rousey’s title and a coach opposite Rousey on the next season of TUF. Tate would be overwhelmed by strikes in the third round by Zingano. After the bout, the UFC announced that Zingano was injured in the bout, and Tate would coach opposite Rousey and then face her in a rematch.
After a very tumultuous season of The Ultimate Fighter, Tate is now expected to fight Rousey at UFC 168 at the UFC’s annual New Years show. Check out a preview of the fight below.
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