Miesha Tate lost the Strikeforce Bantamweight Championship in March to Ronda Rousey. Entering Saturday, she knew she needed a victory to stay in the title hunt.
It was generally believed that a dominant performance from Tate would lead to a rematch with Rousey due to their bad blood, but that is not the kind of performance Tate delivered against Julie Kedzie.
It was a fantastic fight, one of the best of the year, but it was not a fight that should determine who is next for Rousey. Tate knows this as well.
At the post-fight press conference, Tate told the media that she did not deserve a title shot after her performance against Kedzie. And she is right. So, what is next for the former titleholder?
Alexis Davis jumps off the page immediately.
Davis is a top-level grappler who put on a great fight with Sarah Kaufman back in March. Now, Davis is also coming off a win after defeating Hitomi Akano at Invicta FC 2.
The fight makes sense to determine who is next for Rousey in 2013. The fight can happen later this year in Strikeforce and potentially co-main event. It is a good stylistic matchup, and if their recent performances are an indicator, it should be a great scrap too.
If the Strikeforce schedule does keep Tate off of the cards for the rest of the year, then perhaps she could be added to the third Invicta card in October.
The promotion released its 13-bout card earlier in the week, but there is plenty of time to add Tate to the bill. With the working relationship between Strikeforce and Invicta, it would make sense to keep her active and give her another win prior to challenging for the title.
Liz Carmouche, Alexis Davis or Sara McMann are all potential top-level suitors for a fight against Tate. Those premier bouts are unlikely to be wasted as a non-main event. There are plenty of other mid-level opponents for Tate if the aim is to simply showcase her talents.
If Invicta is the next landing spot for Tate, it will be a win-win situation for all involved. Having Invicta as an outlet to keep its fighters active is excellent for Strikeforce—Tate will get to remain active, and Invicta gets to promote one of the best female fighters going today.
After Saturday night's event, we know that Tate should not be challenging for the championship in 2012. She needs to tighten up her game before entering the cage against Rousey for a second time. The champion is on another level.
The good news is that there are a lot of options for the former champion.
Now it is up to Strikeforce matchmaker Sean Shelby to decide how to proceed. Will she make it on a Strikeforce card later in the year, be allowed to take a fight in Invicta or be shelved until the new year?
It remains to be seen, but I would put money on seeing Tate compete once more in 2012.