Underrated: Miesha Tate
By Edward Carbajal
At this past weekend’s UFC 205 event, Miesha Tate (18-7) fought her last fight against Raquel Pennington (9-5). After she lost by unanimous decision, the 30-year-old former bantamweight champion announced her retirement. Tate’s achievements and history shows a lot more fortitude than other “stars” in her weight class that show she has been underrated during her time in the sport.
Even with the other women that have held the UFC bantamweight title when they think of that division, Ronda Rousey always comes to mind. However, if one looked over her shoulder, Miesha Tate was always targeting the biggest name in her division and even faced Rousey twice. When she suffered the losses to Rousey and others, she never stopped circling the title while in the UFC.
She had won the bantamweight tournament in Strikeforce and won the title there but Strikeforce was around when mixed martial arts (MMA) had not boomed in popularity yet. When her rivalry with Rousey in the UFC was marketed through The Ultimate Fighter, it put both her name and Rousey’s in the newer MMA fan’s radar. Even when she lost to Rousey in the UFC, she was never irrelevant but got overlooked.
Her biggest win was handing Holly Holm her first loss at UFC 196. Not only was it big because she won the title and handed an undefeated fighter her first loss, but it was also a win over the woman that handed Rousey her first loss. She had a rough time getting a title fight before that so the win came at the perfect time.
Wins count a lot in MMA but bouncing back from a loss counts a lot too. When some fighters lose, they disappear for a long time from the sport leaving fans questioning if they will ever return or if they are the same. Tate never suffered from this as she always kept gunning for the champion of her division, even when thoughts of retirement were looming.
She was actually improving more; the best example of that is in her recent loss escaping a very nasty guillotine choke using the cage. Still, fighters know when they should stop and she felt she needed to but she was always in top form, and probably could have stayed relevant in her division.