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:
Earlier this year, you mentioned that women often feel pressured to put on a show because they have limited opportunities. Do you feel some of that pressure now that you've returned? Or are you simply focused on getting the win?
Tate: Well, I want to steal the show. That's always my goal. I think a lot of times, women's fights steal the show when they are on the card with men's fights. I really want to outshine the Ronda-Sarah Kaufman fight. I want to put on a battle, and I think that Julie is the perfect person to do that with because she has an iron chin, and she's got an iron will. She's not someone that I know I'll be able to just walk through.
I know that I'm going to have to put everything out there if I'm going to finish that fight, especially in a dominating fashion. But that makes for a great fight: when you have two people who are willing to lay everything on the line and put it out there - you know, not just good at one thing, but they are willing to throw down in every area of mixed martial arts. That makes for a fascinating fight, and I'm really looking forward to this fight with Julie.
Why do you fight?
Tate: It's as simple as because I like it and I want to, and it can get as deep as because it's what makes me feel alive. It's really one of those things that when I get the opportunity to go out there and showcase everything I've worked for, it's a very rewarding feeling. It's a very good feeling, and I enjoy it.
Not having to work a 9 to 5 every day, just being able to train and feel healthy and physically fit, and the dieting. You know sometimes those things can seem tedious and stringent and hard work, but I like how I feel on a day-to-day basis being a professional athlete. I like how I look physically. I'm always very proud of my body; I work very hard for it. And my diet - eating clean and nutritious - I feel like it's going to give me a longer, healthier life.
There are just so many things that go into what I do for a living that makes it so rewarding. But at this point, I don't really see myself doing anything else. This is the most fulfilling thing that I've ever done, and I love it.
What do you say to people who believe that women shouldn't be competing in MMA?
Tate: I guess there's not a whole to say to those kinds of people except I think that anyone who would say that is a very close-minded person. They need to open their minds and realize that anything that men are capable of doing, I truly believe that women are capable of doing as well. We fight, and I think we fight hard, and I think we entertain. And that's what people are asking for anyways. They aren't just asking people to fight; they're asking to be entertained. And I think that when it comes to entertainment, I think that women, nine times out of 10, deliver that.
So I don't understand where people get off and say, "Well, women shouldn't do this," or "Women shouldn't do that." Those kind of people are chauvinistic, close-minded, or they're the people who are still trying to suppress women, and for me, that doesn't fly.
How has your training camp been overall? What are some things you've focused on and are working towards for this fight?
Tate: I've been focusing a lot on my conditioning, and I'm still training to fight Ronda again. I really do respect Julie, and I don't want to say anything bad about her because I've known of her for a long time. We've run into each other on various occasions, at Invicta and things like that, and she's always been a very nice person, but I truly believe that I have a better, more well-rounded skillset in every area of the fight.
So for me, again, I'm working the arm bar defense. I'm working on the things that I need to fight Ronda again. It really, at this point, is my main focus, and I want the rematch, and I'm going to show why I deserve the rematch come August 18th. So I'm training for Julie, but I'm also training to fight the number one girl again. So Ronda better be on her toes.
There's a great chance that Sarah Kaufman beats Ronda Rousey this weekend. Would you be as motivated to face Kaufman for the title instead Rousey?
Tate: I have wanted to fight Sarah for a long time, since the very time I fought Sarah and lost a fairly close decision. Before Ronda, Sarah was my motivation. I really wanted to fight Sarah again, so absolutely. Facing either one of those two allows me to avenge a loss, and the belt is a lot of motivation in itself.
I think I have a little more personal animosity towards Ronda, but again, I don't care as much as I used to about what Ronda does or says. You know, I like to stir the pot because I think it's fun, and I figure if Ronda's going to do it, I figure maybe she'll like a taste of her own medicine. For me, it's all fun and games.
Honestly, emotionally, I feel like I've moved on, and I've gotten over the majority of that, and I would definitely approach a second fight differently. I believe I would beat her, and I believe that I would beat Sarah Kaufman, too. I feel that I've evolved more as a fighter than Sarah Kaufman has since the last time that we fought. So to answer your question: absolutely.
Source: Personal Interview
- Sports & Recreation
- Ronda Rousey
- Julie Kedzie
- Sarah Kaufman