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LAS VEGAS – Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate didn’t come out of retirement because she needs the money. She came back to prove she’s once again the best fighter in the world.
Earlier this week, Tate (18-7 MMA, 5-4 UFC) booked her first UFC fight in over four years, July 17 against Marion Reneau (9-7-1 MMA, 5-6-1 UFC). Getting the UFC and Dana White on board wasn’t necessarily a quick process.
“I literally had to hunt Dana down,” Tate said at a news conference following Friday’s UFC 260 ceremonial weigh-ins. “He blew off my first five Instagram messages. It was actually starting to really piss me off.”
Eventually, Tate got a hold of White, and the two met in person to discuss business. White approved the comeback plans but only after Tate explained her motivation.
“He was like, ‘So, what are you doing here?'” Tate said. “I was like, ‘I want to f*cking fight. That’s what I’m doing here.’ He’s like, ‘All right, you’re not hurting for money?’ I was like, ‘No, I’m not.’ I’m actually making really good money right now with ONE Championship. This is because I want to do that. I want to come back and fight.”
“… I’m not here for anything less than gold. I want to be the best in the world. I’d love to say I’m doing this because I’m a mom, and I want to inspire my kids and all this. That’s all cherry on the top.”
When Tate walked away from mixed martial arts in 2016, it wasn’t because she thought it was impossible for her to win back the title, no. After she lost her UFC women’s bantamweight championship to Amanda Nunes at UFC 200 and her next fight to Raquel Pennington at UFC 205, Tate was worn down, burned out, and needed a break.
“It was not because I was physically incapable,” Tate said. “It was because I just had so many other things in my personal life. I was struggling with depression. I was having a really difficult time. I just didn’t have it to give anymore there. I didn’t have the extra. I knew that, and I knew that was a very ugly place to be. I needed to step away. I needed to cut ties with everything and start fresh.”
Start fresh, she did. Back at Xtreme Couture, Tate is enthused by her restart. Her old teammates tell her it’s like she’s never left, which swells her motivation even more.
“I feel good, and I have a much better support system this time around than I did my entire career,” Tate said. “What I was able to do under those circumstances just really leads me to really believe in myself, like, what I can do under the right circumstances.”