Miesha Tate Must Win Against Ronda Rousey at UFC 168 to Remain Relevant

Kenny DeJohnAnalyst IIIDecember 27, 2013

April 13, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Miesha Tate speaks to media following her loss at the TUF 17 Finale at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Getting lost in UFC limbo is a real possibility for Miesha Tate at UFC 168, as a second loss against Ronda Rousey could put a serious halt to her progression through the ranks of the MMA world.

Tate previously lost to Rousey in 2012. A first-round armbar was enough to finish Tate off in that bout, but she'll be hoping for better results this time around. Not making it out of the first round hurts her chances in UFC 168, as Tate didn't get to experience the full repertoire of Rousey firsthand.

March 3, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Ronda Rousey punches Miesha Tate during the Strikeforce Grand Prix final at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

"I think I underestimated her a bit because I was too busy discrediting her, saying she didn't deserve the title shot and whatnot," Tate told Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "She's better than I thought she was going to be."

Tate can't afford another loss against Rousey, though. It would derail her career before it even gets off the ground.

For starters, Tate technically wasn't even supposed to be given this second shot at Rousey. Cat Zingano earned the honor of No. 1 Contender for the title after defeating Tate, but an injury to Zingano opened up the opportunity for Tate.

UFC President Dana White stuck by Zingano as the No. 1 Contender, however. Via Elias Cepeda of Yahoo! Sports: "Oh she's the No. 1. She's numero uno, when she's healthy she'll be ready to go."

Given the fact that Tate technically didn't even earn this second chance, the chances that she earns a third shot from the UFC are slim.

Rousey also would have no reason to accept a third fight against Tate. There would be nothing left for her to prove if she can defeat Tate at UFC 168. A loss to her in a future bout would only hurt her legacy in women's MMA.

On the flip side, a win against Rousey would propel her career to new heights. Rousey defeated Liz Carmouche in UFC's first women's bout back in February, and defeating a trailblazer like Rousey would be a huge victory for Tate's career.

Marc Raimondi of FOX Sports also thinks this bout against Rousey could propel Tate's career to new heights: 

The Ultimate Fighter had made Tate a star nearly on the level of Rousey. And at UFC 168, she has the chance to be the face of women's MMA—a champion, in her mind, that would be true to her forbearers.

Winning the title and setting her up for a presumed rematch against Zingano would be an added bonus. Avenging her loss to Zingano in an effort to prove she deserved the honor of being the No. 1 Contender would help her to bring this snippet of her career full circle.

Rousey is the current face of women's MMA, but that title could belong to Tate after UFC 168. There's a lot on the line for both fighters, but Tate can make the biggest statement with a victory.