Rousey-Tate: Hottest Rivalry in Sports? Please
UFC women's bantamweight linchpin Ronda Rousey undoubtedly loathes her coaching nemesis on The Ultimate Fighter Season 18, Miesha Tate.
But the fact that Rousey and Tate simply hold a bona fide disdain for one another doesn't mean the duo should rightfully draw comparisons to some of the most riveting rivalries in sports.
Deeper and more heated feuds exist in virtually every sport, and truth be told, the Rousey-Tate conflict doesn't even embody the most captivating rivalry in MMA.
Here are three reasons the Rousey-Tate quarrel pales in comparison to the most deeply layered disputes in sports.
The Rousey-Tate Rivalry Is Just Getting Started
Unlike some of the most anticipated showdowns between the most hated counterparts—like the Yankees-Red Sox, Packers-Bears, Lakers-Celtics, Canadiens-Maple Leafs—fans only have one memory of a brief scrap between Rousey and Tate.
In the case of the most coveted rivalries, fans from multiple generations can swap stories, compare statistics and spark general arguments in regards to the state of their particular conflict.
Granted, Rousey and Tate have exuded a true sense of disgust for each other thus far on TUF 18, and their relationship certainly won't take a turn for the better by season's end. However, the drama they've built from their fight in Strikeforce and their time together on TUF doesn't really put them in a league with the historically rich Ohio State-Michigan, Steelers-Ravens or even Red Wings-Blackhawks rivalries.
Furthermore, it'd be difficult to make a case to place any current feud related to combat sports at the top of the list of fan favorites, unless of course a pair of fighters squared off in three or four epic "Fight of the Year"-caliber clashes.
Although highly awaited trilogies like Dominick Cruz-Urijah Faber or Junior dos Santos-Cain Velasquez could change this theory in the near future.
The Only Rousey-Tate Fight Was Essentially One-Sided
While Tate flashed glimmers of greatness in the early going of their March 2012 meeting, Rousey wasted little time taking complete control of their 135-pound women's title bout at Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey.
Rousey not only outstruck Tate, 43-11, the UFC bantamweight champ landed each of her three takedown attempts, passed Tate's guard four times and hit a reversal.
On her second gruesome armbar attempt, Rousey, who dislocated Tate's elbow with the first try, wrenched on the challenger's arm unmercifully until finally inducing a tap late in the first round.
Tate armbarred the fading Julie Kedzie in her next bout before getting TKO'd in brutal fashion by Cat Zingano at The Ultimate Fighter Season 17 Finale.
Zingano's thrashing of Tate slightly minimizes the value of the Rousey-Tate dispute, especially since "Cupcake" only landed a role as a coach opposite "Rowdy" because of a Zingano ACL tear.
Until Tate proves that she can hang with the likes of Rousey and Zingano, this quarrel will remain second-rate, like that of the since-faded rivalries of Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen or Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz.
Women's MMA Is Growing Quickly, but It Has a Long Way to Go
Rousey has triggered significant strides in women's MMA by persuading UFC president Dana White to institute a 135-pound women's division in November 2012.
Rousey did so simply by displaying an extraordinary blend of talent, aggression and grace, impressing White and convincing him that women belonged in a sport traditionally laden with men.
Less than a year later, Rousey facilitated an equally groundbreaking development in women's MMA when she was selected to coach opposite Cat Zingano on The Ultimate Fighter Season 18.
But even with the monumental changes in the sport, women's MMA has yet to truly hit its stride or come close to reaching its climax.
Stars like Rousey, Tate, Zingano and Liz Carmouche will continue to market the weight class, and large crops of talent will eventually sprout to fatten the bantamweight division and ultimately expand it into multiple classes.
After all, no expert would argue that women's MMA can compare in popularity to the most beloved sports. With that in mind, the Rousey-Tate rivalry shouldn't even garner consideration as one of the most heated rivalries in sports, at least until they genuinely pay their dues as pioneers.
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