Former UFC champion Miesha Tate on pain of weight-cuts: ‘It’s like your muscle is being liquified’

Former UFC champion Miesha Tate has opened up on the painful process of cutting weight before fights, saying: “It’s like your muscle is being liquified.”

Tate, 37, held the UFC women’s bantamweight title in 2016, her last year in the promotion before she took a five-year break from MMA.

The American returned in July 2021 with a victory over Marion Reneau, but she came up short against Ketlen Vieira four months later, prompting an experimental fight in the division below. On her 125lbs debut, in July 2022, Tate was beaten by Lauren Murphy.

“I don’t think most people realise how difficult any of this is,” Tate said this week, ahead of her return to 135lbs against Julia Avila. “Most people can’t even stick to a normal diet. They say, ‘Oh, I want to lose some weight,’ and they’re not even willing or able to do that.

“So, I think for an athlete to shave muscle off of their body, it’s very difficult, and it feels terrible actually. It’s like this burning feeling in your body. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s like your muscle just being liquified. It’s not a very nice feeling. Easier said than done.

“Making 125, I’m proud of myself. It just goes to show when I set my mind to something, I can do it, because that was not easy. It took months and months and months of dieting, and I’m already pretty lean at 135, so to get down to 125 meant I just had to strip muscle off of my body. There really wasn’t much room to play with body fat, so it ended up not being a good thing for me.

“Hormonally, I had some complications, and I was just too lean for a female, so I think 135 is where it’s at. I may not be the biggest 135lbs female out there, but I don’t think I need to be the biggest to be the best. I feel good, and I know what I’m capable of when I feel good.”

Tate will face Avila in Austin, Texas, on Saturday (2 December). The pair compete at a Fight Night event headlined by Beneil Dariush vs Arman Tsarukyan.