While much of the world calms itself for the holidays, Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate are going full bore.
The two bitter rivals share an animosity that transcends your standard pre-fight hype, with both fighters exchanging wicked barbs about the personal and professional attributes of the other woman. It all culminates Dec. 28 at UFC 168, when in the co-main event Tate will challenge Rousey for the UFC women's bantamweight title.
It looks like Tate is the latest to launch a verbal volley. In a video interview with UFC broadcaster Joe Rogan published on UFC.com, Tate suggests Rousey is due for a comeuppance and that she may have run her course as the top star of women's MMA.
"She's pretty cocky and pretty arrogant at this point," Tate said in the interview. "I think that a little slice of humble pie wouldn't hurt her. Women's MMA needs a new face. But the most important thing to me is winning the belt. I would love to take some of that weight off of Ronda's shoulders."
Six months ago, that sort of trash talk from Tate might have rung hollow or elicited eye rolls from fans. But after a coaching stint on The Ultimate Fighter, in which Tate repeatedly appeared to take the high road as Rousey became increasingly abrasive and unhinged in front of the cameras, might have swung more sympathizers in the challenger's direction.
Either way, Tate acknowledged the rivalry's career-boosting properties, stating that "I'm actually very thankful to have Ronda as a rival, because I truly believe that if she wasn't a part of my career that neither I nor women's MMA would have come as far as it has."
Tate and Rousey fought once before, with Rousey vanquishing Tate by first-round armbar—the same way Rousey has won all her professional fights—in March 2012, when the two were fighting for the Strikeforce promotion. With the win, Rousey captured Tate's Strikeforce bantamweight belt.
The two didn't like each other even back then. A fired-up Tate began the fight in a fury, looking to hurt Rousey from the get-go. The aggression may have been too much, with the resulting sloppiness possibly costing Tate the fight. It's a mistake Tate won't repeat.
"I'm really trying not to get as emotionally invested [this time]," Tate said. "I'm going to look at Ronda Rousey as just the champion and another opponent, not someone that I hate."