In a recent interview with Joe Rogan, Miesha Tate talked about her upcoming title defense against Amanda Nunes, her relationship with former champ Holly Holm, and her future with the UFC. Cupcake was her usual chipper self for much of the interview, casually gabbing with the comedian and commentator about fights, diets and her life since winning the title in March. Toward the end of their conversation, however, the current women’s bantamweight champion had some words for her longtime rival, Ronda Rousey, who has been the current 18-5 fighter’s white whale, as it were, for much if not all of her professional MMA career.
Both Tate and Rousey are pioneers of women’s MMA, and their rivalry began around their first bout for Strikeforce, which saw Tate submitted at the end of the first round via Ronda’s famous armbar. Tate, who resisted the move before being forced into submission, received praise from Rousey for her endurance and commitment in the fight, but the niceties didn’t last long.
The Tate-Rousey rivalry soon escalated once again, with both fighters coaching opposing teams on the UFC reality TV series, The Ultimate Fighter. Rousey had been the UFC’s inaugural women’s bantamweight champion by that time and Tate was given a shot at the belt at UFC 168 following their tenure on TUF. This time, Tate managed to escape several armbar attempts and become the first MMA fighter to make it past the first round against Rousey, but ultimately Tate lost in the third round via submission.
Both fighters subsequently enjoyed respective winning streaks, but Rousey’s spotless record and famously quick finishes in many ways overshadowed Tate’s impressive but comparatively checkered career. The tides turned, however, with Holm’s upset victory over Rousey in November of 2015 at UFC 193 and then with Tate’s victory over Holm in her first title defense at UFC 196. Prior to this dramatic shift in fortune, rumor had it that the 29-year-old veteran was considering retirement. Now, Tate is at the height of her career and the women’s bantamweight division.
Meanwhile, Rousey has arguably hit the lowest point in her otherwise illustrious MMA career. Many attribute the former champ’s defeat at UFC 193 to her exhaustive schedule outside of the Octagon. From television appearances to demanding movie contracts, Rousey’s extensive media obligations have apparently persisted even since she lost the belt in November. She is expected to return to the cage for New York’s first UFC event later in 2016, however no official announcement has yet been made for that card.
Although Tate remains focused on her upcoming bout with Nunes at UFC 200, she still has her cross-hairs locked on Rousey after all this time. “I need that,” she told Rogan when he pressed her about a possible Tate vs. Rousey trilogy: “That has to happen. That’s very important to me.” Miesha elaborated that she even believes that Rousey could have agreed to fight her at UFC 200 rather than Nunes. But with the job security afforded her outside of the UFC, Rousey seems to be losing interest in fighting, according to the new champ.
Miesha also put to rest any possibility of her and Ronda ever becoming friends in the future. Cupcake might have the sweetest personality of any currently reigning champion in the UFC, but she still holds one hell of a grudge.