In the opening fight of the main card of UFC 205, the company’s biggest card, Raquel Pennington squared off against Miesha Tate, former champion, and pioneer of women’s MMA. In the fight, something seemed off for the veteran, and she was defeated by Pennington via decision. After the winner was interviewed, Miesha took the mic and announced her retirement from MMA. She said it was mostly based off her performance and that it was no longer her “time.” In her nine-year career, she managed to become bantamweight champion in three different promotions and will go down as one of women’s MMA greats.
Miesha began her MMA career in Evansville, Indiana in a women’s tournament. She experienced both her first win and loss in the same night. She would then jump around promotions, winning the Freestyle Cage Fighting women’s bantamweight title. She later fought for Strikeforce full time, winning the belt eventually, beating Marloes Coenen via triangle choke. Then, she would begin the biggest rivalry of her career. An up-and-comer named Ronda Rousey wanted a fight against Miesha Tate specifically, as she thought the fight would garner a lot of attention. The two fought, and, like all of Ronda’s fights previously, she won via first round armbar. Tate would only fight one more time before Strikeforce was bought out by the UFC.
She debuted in the octagon in 2013, where she lost against Cat Zingano. She then appeared on The Ultimate Fighter as a coach against Ronda, where the two’s rivalry grew. This reached a boiling point in December of 2013 when they fought for the belt. Ronda would eventually win by armbar in the third round, but Miesha had taken Ronda farther than any other opponent had up to that point. She had proven herself as a truly elite fighter, and although she didn’t get the belt, she showed the world what “Cupcake” was all about.
Following her loss to Rousey, Tate rattled off a four-fight win streak over the likes of Liz Carmouche and Jessica Eye. This led to her getting a second UFC title shot, this time against Holly Holm. Coming off the upset of the century, many experts had picked Holm to destroy Tate and begin her own domination of the 135-pound division. Tate had other plans. In the final 90 seconds of the fight, Tate secured a rear naked choke, and, instead of tapping out, Holm went to sleep. This was a culmination of years of hard work, winning the championship in the world’s most competitive MMA organization.
From this, she would go on to headline UFC 200 in the first UFC card in the T-Mobile Arena. She would lose her belt to Amanda Nunes. Then, she would fight her final bout this past Saturday to Raquel Pennington. There is no doubt that Miesha was as tough as they come, always ready to buckle down and brawl. She inspired much of the new generation of women’s MMA fighters and will be remembered for her part in its growth. Now that she is retired, she has a lot of options. She runs a podcast, she has done analyst work at FOX, and she can coach. So while the gloves have been hung up, we have not seen the last of Miesha Tate.