Miesha Tate has thrown some doubt on claims that her next fight will be with Ronda Rousey, suggesting Rowdy's main motivation is to "have Travis Browne's baby."
Tate became the UFC women's bantamweight champion at UFC 196 on Saturday with a fifth-round submission of Holly Holm, who was making her first defence of the title since beating Rousey in November.
The clamour now is for Tate and Rousey to meet in the Octagon again, but the new champion is concerned about the Californian's motivation and mooted return date, per TMZ Sports:
I am interested in [another fight with Ronda], for sure. Obviously I was supposed to fight her when Holly fought her and beat her. I was prepared and ready for that and I've been ready for that for a long time.
But I also know that Ronda is not really slated to come back until around November and that's a long time to just sit and be idle. Now that I'm the champion I feel like I have unlimited energy.
I don't even know what [Ronda] is thinking right now … it seems like her motivation to stick around was to have Travis Browne's baby. So, I don't know.
See the full interview below:
The reference to fellow UFC star Browne relates to Rousey's post-fight comments to Ellen DeGeneres after the Holm defeat, in which she cited wanting to start a family with the 33-year-old as a key motivation to "stay alive," via TIME's Samantha Grossman.
Tate's dig may well irk Rousey, who has yet to enter the Octagon since being brutally knocked out by Holm at UFC 193 in Melbourne, Australia.
That defeat brought to an end a career run of 12 fights without a loss, with two of Rousey's victories having come against Tate.
While the pair, both 29, have met twice before with the same outcome, a third clash with Rousey looking to regain her title would undoubtedly be a huge draw.
I think that Ronda now will fight Miesha Tate for the title. That’s what’s going to happen. That’s what I said before this fight even happened. …
[Ronda]'s scheduled to not come back until October or November, but that doesn't mean I can’t ask. I can ask. Ronda Rousey has worked very hard for three-and-a-half years in this company and believe me, she did anything that was asked of her and went above and beyond the call of duty. If she wants to stay out until October, she can do that.
Tate's victory over Holm came via rear-naked choke in the closing seconds, per BT Sport UFC:
BT Sport UFC @btsportufc
The moment @MieshaTate stunned @HollyHolm to be crowned the new women's bantamweight champ at #UFC196. #AndNew https://t.co/jnDyjQuxSU3/7/2016, 9:00:03 AM
It came at the end of a fascinating fight, one that could easily have gone Holm's way had she held out for a few moments longer.
If Rousey does not return to take on Tate soon, then a rematch of Holm and Cupcake could be on the cards, and the former champion has called out her Saturday opponent to fight her again at UFC 200:
With Rousey's return still very much up in the air, Tate-Holm II may well be the best alternative option for the new champion's first defence.