Miesha Tate vs. Ronda Rousey: Who Will Back Up Their Trash Talk in the Cage?

Matthew HemphillCorrespondent IIFebruary 27, 2012

picture courtesy of heavy.com
picture courtesy of heavy.com

When Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey clash at Strikeforce's main event this Saturday, it will be one of the biggest in MMA right now, with Rousey pulling off the upset. When she does, she will prove that all of the insults she used to get herself the fight weren't in vain.

Part of the intrigue comes from their skills, while another comes from their looks. Both women are attractive, and both are excellent grapplers, with Tate excelling in wrestling and Rousey being a former amateur judo champion.

The other part comes from the fact that both women dislike each other.

For Rousey it is a professional matter. Using trash talk has gotten her a title shot after only four professional bouts. She willingly acknowledges that she has used her looks and her ability to speak to get an opportunity.

For Tate, the matter is a little more personal. She has worked hard to get where she is in her career, and it has taken her years to do it. For someone to swoop in and use intelligent marketing to net themselves a title fight, no matter how impressive their amateur credentials, almost seems like cheating.

The only problem is that for as much anger as Tate has over Rousey's tactics, by the end of the night they will have helped Rousey win the title.

In the end, it comes down to skill in the cage, and Tate's wrestling will help her in that respect. Judokas have always struggled inside the cage, because while their martial art allows them to take opponents down and submit them, wrestling allows fighters to apply pressure to their opponents and stifle them against the cage.

But thanks to Rousey's mind games, she has been able to frustrate her opponent. Between Tate underestimating her and the emotional volatility she allows herself to feel in the cage, Rousey will find the opening to submit her.

It would be simple to say that Tate has faced the better opposition, and it would be true. She has faced fighters like Sarah Kaufman, Hitomi Akano and Marloes Coenen, beating two of them and losing to one.

That kind of experience can't be replicated, but neither can Rousey's. She was a bronze medalist at the Beijing Olympics, and dealing with the pressure of trying to prove that she is the best in the world in Judo is very much the same.

Tate has admitted that she thinks Rousey will have trouble working without a gi and is not well-rounded. There is truth to that statement, but there is cockiness in there as well.

Anyone who has made it to the Olympics deserves to be acknowledged as a serious one-dimensional threat, if that is all they are, and Tate's dismissal of Rousey because of the limitations she feels Rousey has will just end up being her downfall.

On Saturday, Tate will swagger into the cage confident of her skills only to find herself tapping out to the less experienced fighter and having to wonder what happened.

In the end, she will only have herself to blame for taking Rousey lightly and losing her title because of it.