Miesha Tate is considered by many to be the next Gina Carano, with movie star looks and the talent to back it up.
Originally scheduled to face Marloes Coenen for the Strikeforce Women’s Welterweight title at “Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson” this Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, Tate suffered an injury and had to pull out.
Her replacement, Liz “Girl-Rilla” Carmouche, won the alternate bout for a tournament that Tate won to earn her title shot.
Now the undefeated “Girl-Rilla” gets her shot. At 5-0 with four finishes, Carmouche is a threat to any fighter in her weight class. I spoke with her about how the opportunity came about, her thoughts on her opponent and the future.
Phil Lanides: In your last fight, you faced the extremely tough veteran Jan Finney, and you were able to come out on top. How do you feel like you’ve improved since that fight?
Liz Carmouche: I feel like I’ve improved a lot, not just because of the added experience and feeling more confident in my overall game, but also in my training, I’ve had different training partners and different actual trainers that I feel have really helped out.
PL: Due to an injury to Miesha Tate, you’ve been given the opportunity to face Marloes Coenen for the Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Championship this Saturday in Ohio. How did the opportunity come about?
Who will walk out of the cage the Strikeforce Women's Welterweight Champion this Saturday night?
LC: I remember it was a Sunday night, and I got a call from my trainer, Manolo. He asked me if I was ready for the opportunity of a lifetime. I could tell by the tone of his voice that I thought I knew what he might be hinting at, and as soon as he said, I told him I was on board, unquestionably. I try to stay in shape all year round so if anyone calls with a fight offer that I can take it.
PL: Do you feel that you’ve earned this chance?
LC: I respect Miesha because she definitely won the tournament, and she worked to get to the position that I’m in now. But I’ve been training all year long, I haven’t taken a break. So I feel like I’ve earned the right to be here. I don’t downplay what she did in that tournament to get to where she’s at, though.
PL: Give us a rundown of Marloes from your perspective. How do you see her as a fighter?
LC: She’s the best in the world. She’s the titleholder, and she’s definitely earned that place. I think she’s a very talented woman and a well-rounded fighter in every aspect of the game.
PL: How do you see the fight with Marloes going?
LC: I think it’s going to be a head-to-head fight. I definitely see this going for the full time. So it’s either going to end in a decision, or I think I’m going to get a lucky blow in there, and I’m going to end in the fight.
PL: Do you have a message for the champion?
LC: I have the utmost respect for her, and I’m really looking forward to this. I think Saturday night’s going to be exciting, and I’m really glad to have this opportunity.
Special thanks to Strikeforce/Esther Lin for the use of the photo.