Miesha Tate talked a big game heading into UFC 168 against Ronda Rousey. The former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion seemed mentally ready and focused to win the UFC championship from Rousey and silence her inner demons.
But when the time came, Tate deflated, much like she did in her first fight with Rousey. She fought hard, but couldn’t find the reserve needed to counter Rousey’s wicked judo throws and submission armbars.
And although she became the first fighter to stretch the women’s phenom out the first round, the fight ended the same way all of Rousey’s fights ends; tapout.
At the post-fight press conference, Tate buried her head down, her eyes looked swollen from crying, not from blows from the fight, and she was clearly distraught over the loss.
Now’s she speaking out about what went Wrong Dec. 28 in Las Vegas, when Rousey tapped her out in the third round.
Tate told FOX Sports that she essentially crumbled under the pressure:
“I’m super appreciative of the support, and that’s the inner turmoil of the whole thing,” Tate said. “It’s a lot of pressure when every single person you run into is like, ‘Please, for my sake, beat this girl up.’
“You feel pressure not to let everyone down. It’s not my fight then, it becomes a fight I’m fighting for everyone else. It puts pressure on an athlete. Especially me because I don’t like to let people down. I felt a tremendous amount of pressure to not let everyone down. And then I heard people chanting my name. Oh my gosh. Normally it should pump you up, but I was like, ‘You guys are stressing me out.’ I love the fans but it just added to it. It was enough pressure by itself. I didn’t need the whole world to think, ‘You have to beat this girl.’ It was just weird.”
Tate and Rousey had serious bad blood for one another leading into the fight. Both have insulted each other and their rivalry goes back to Strikeforce in 2011 and 12 when Tate was champion and argued that Rousey didn’t deserve a title show. The criticism fueld Rousey’s dislike for Tate and motivated her tap Tate out in the first round.
Tate said her emotions had overcome her in the fight and that she strayed from her game plan. She promised that it would be different in the rematch.
Tate never did much damage to Rousey over the course of the three rounds, but she was able to defend against Ronda for a bit longer than the first fight. Rousey, however, seemed to be stronger and more aggressive and she eventually submitted Tate in the third round.
Tate said she would be willing to fight Rousey again if she can convince UFC President Dana White to give her a rematch.
“I told Dana White that I’d fight her as many times as he’d let me. I don’t care if I fought her 100 times and I lost the first 99 of them. I would fight her 100 times, as many times as they let me. If she beats me nine times out of 10, that might be the reality of it, but I would be game to fight her any day at any time they’d let me. And if I could ever work that and prove I deserve another title shot, or even if it’s not for a title, if I ever do earn the opportunity to fight her again, I would love to.”