On Saturday, August 18, Miesha Tate will return to the cage for the first time since losing her bantamweight title when she faces Julie Kedzie at Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman. I caught up with Tate recently, and here is what she had to say about her arm injury, her fight with Kedzie, and getting another shot at Ronda Rousey:
Miesha, how's the arm doing?
Tate: It's made a full recovery. I'm training, and it's 100 percent. I haven't had any residual effects, so I'm pretty pumped.
Just to verify, it was just a hyperextension, right?
Tate: Yeah, it was a hyperextension and some damage to some of the soft tissue surrounding the elbow, but no bones were broken or chipped or anything like that.
How did this arm injury affect your training?
Tate: It took me out of training for a while. There were a couple months where I couldn't do much with the elbow except work on rehab. It really wasn't too long before I was able to use it on a daily basis, but I would definitely notice it if I was trying to grapple or anything like that. It wasn't up to par for that. I really did a lot of physical therapy and saw the doctors and followed their orders, and within a couple of months, I was able to lightly roll. I just worked my way into doing everything 100 percent, so I get to fight on August 18.
How have you been preparing for Julie Kedzie?
Tate: Well, I'm preparing for her as though I am fighting the number one girl. I figure if I was training to fight Ronda [Rousey] or Sarah [Kaufman], then I'll make if through Julie and move on to fight one of those girls, so I'm just training as hard as I can - just preparing myself the best that I can. And not that I have much of a game plan, honestly. I'm just going to go out there and let my skill set and my instincts kick in for me.
Is there any chance that the trash talk being exchanged between you and Ronda Rousey is distracting you from the fight with Kedzie?
Tate: No, because keeping Ronda in the back of my mind is what really motivates me. Winning another fight, yeah that's motivating, but what really gets me going is keeping Ronda on my mind and keeping that title on my mind. Every day I remind myself of where I am now and where I eventually want to be, and so for me, it helps me to train harder and focus on the task at hand.
Are you finding motivation in Ronda because it's personal or because she has the bantamweight title?
Tate: It's a little of both. Obviously, I want my belt back, but I honestly don't know what I want more: do I want my belt back more, or do I want to beat Ronda more? (laughs) Both would be ideal.
Does it hurt women's MMA for fighters like Ronda Rousey to be posing nude in the ESPN: The Body magazine?
Tate: I don't think ESPN Magazine hurts the sport for women's MMA. I think they depict it in a pretty good light, even though it's meant to portray the athletic body. What I think hurts the sport is Ronda running her mouth constantly about everyone else and pointing her finger and accusing other people, and you know, basically acting like she's better and holier than thou as far as it comes with her versus everyone else. I think that just puts a negative light on women's MMA.
She's so cocky, she's so full of herself, that when she falls one day, she's going to fall hard. She's going to fall right on her face, and she's going to realize that a lot of those bandwagon fans are going to move right on to the next person who beats her. To me, it's silly. I don't think that anyone should act like they are better than anyone at any time, especially if they're professional athletes. No one stays on top forever, and no one wins every fight forever, so that attitude is really going to make her look stupid when it comes around to bite her in the butt.
Are we going to continue seeing this trash talk in the sport, or is it just something that happens when Rousey is in the picture?
Tate: I think that as long as Ronda's in the picture, there's always going to be trash talk because that's what she built her whole career based off of. She's kind of a leach when it comes to everyone else. She's constantly calling out people who are more famous than she is so she can build her brand and her name off of that. To me, it's kind of pathetic. I think she needs to shut her mouth and let her skillset talk for itself, unless she's not confident that she can continue to do so.
What does this fight with Kedzie mean for you at this stage of your career?
Tate: It's a really important stepping stone in my career. It's going to basically say whether I'm still here and I'm still coming for that title or not - you know, whether Ronda really put me out of the game or not.
I think people are wondering what kind of a comeback I am going to make or even if I will be able to come back off of something like that. I know in my heart that I am, but also that I need to show the fans and everybody else - I need to show that. And I need to go out, and I need to not just win this fight, but I think that I need to win it in dominating fashion and make a statement. I want to win this fight more than anything because it's going to put me one step closer to a rematch with Ronda and another shot at the belt.
Source: Personal Interview