New UFC bantamweight champion Miesha Tate has revealed she's unsure if Ronda Rousey will ever scale the heights she did prior to her loss to Holly Holm.
Speaking on Jay Mohr Sports (h/t Marc Raimondi of MMA Fighting) on Monday after her win on Saturday against Holm at UFC 196, Tate, who has lost to Rousey on two occasions, didn’t seem particularly daunted by the prospect of going up against Rowdy for a third time, labelling her a “broken woman”:
I don't know if she'll ever come back the same. But I have proven that I can come back from adversity and I do come back and I will come back. And there's no one in this sport that can break me. I have the strongest mindset of anybody in there. I don't know where Ronda is with her mindset, but I have to wonder. Is she ever going to come back the same?
Rousey had masses of momentum at her back when she took on Holm at UFC 193 in November, before she was knocked out in shock circumstances.
Since the defeat, the former champion has kept a low profile, although she did open up on Ellen recently, saying she contemplated suicide in the wake of the defeat, per Raimondi. After Tate’s triumph, some expected Rousey to return to fight her for the title, something UFC President Dana White confirmed on SportsCenter (h/t Mike Bohn of MMAjunkie).
Tate feels watching Rousey lose to Holm offered her an insight into how to get the better of her nemesis.
“I just saw how Ronda got demolished with clean striking [against Holm]," the new champion said. "I think that I've improved so much and I've showed that in this fight with Holly.”
Additionally, as noted by Zam’s Danielle Riendeau, Tate also showcased a renewed intensity against the former boxer, something that was key in her forcing a late stoppage:
Excellent fight - great striking and defense from Holm, great aggression and incredible grappling from Tate!— Danielle Riendeau (@Danielleri) March 6, 2016
When Rousey and Tate have met in the past, the outcomes have been pretty similar, with the former locking in an armbar on both occasions and forcing Tate to submit. Here’s a reminder of how the previous bout between the two panned out, when Rowdy won in the third round:
Despite the fact there has been a significant chasm between the two in previous fights, Tate revealed she feels as though she’s vastly improved from UFC 168, when they last faced off.
“Look at how much my striking improved," Tate said. "From that fight that I fought Ronda, I still had really wild, kind of flinging hooks. I let Ronda come right into that clinch. [I was punching] so wide and open and nothing down in the middle.”
Indeed, the champion Tate will surely carry a lot more confidence into any potential showdown with Rousey in the future. Additionally, she’ll be boosted in the knowledge that she was able to choke out the fighter who left the former title holder beaten so badly at UFC 193; they’re intangible advantages she’s not been privy to previously.
Shaheen Al-Shatti of MMA Fighting is looking forward to seeing how each of these fighters potentially fare in a role reversal:
Tate-Rousey 3 with the roles reversed is going to be the strangest, most fascinating thing.— Shaheen Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) March 6, 2016
Who would you back in Tate-Rousey III?
For neutrals, hopefully the time Rousey has spent away from the Octagon will see her return refreshed and ready to take on new challenges; watching her go at an opponent in full flight has come to be one of the most engrossing sights in MMA in recent years.
Tate may point to the improvements made, but you suspect there’ll also be a nagging reflex at the back of her mind—one that reminds her of the two losses suffered against Rowdy previously.