by Dane McGuire
Women’s MMA pioneer and former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate eyes new challenges down 10 pounds and women’s 125.
Tate is expected to face Lauren Murphy in her women’s flyweight debut this May.
“I have made the commitment to go down to 125 [pounds],” Tate told The MMA Hour. “A few reasons [why] — I think I automatically assumed 135 was always my weight class because that’s all there ever was. When I got into Strikeforce, it was only 135 and 145.
“When I got into the UFC, it was only 135, and by the time 125 came around, I was just so enveloped at 135 trying to win the title and then obviously the rivalry with Ronda [Rousey], and then I did win it against Holly [Holm]. But as the sport has evolved, I’ve just very rarely ever had a reach advantage. I’ve rarely had a height advantage.”
Tate returned from retirement last year competing at women’s bantamweight and earning a TKO win at UFC on ESPN: Makhachev vs. Moisés on July 17, 2021.
However, Tate then suffered a decision loss in a headlining bout opposite Ketlen Vieira.
“She was very long in her reach. She had a really long reach,” Tate said of Vieira. “So that was something that definitely factored in. She felt just really tall and big in there, absolutely. I don’t feel like it was a strength thing.
I don’t feel that’s a fight I couldn’t have won. I didn’t win it, and I still think that, looking back on it, I’m kind of kicking myself for not being more aggressive and more wrestling heavy. It wasn’t just that fight in particular, it was just a career move that I think could be more promising for becoming a champion,” she continued.
“Another reason, although I know I’m a little bit away from getting a potential title shot, with [Julianna Pena] being crowned the champion at 135, also I would just prefer if we could be champions at the same time together and Pacific Northwest takeover,” Tate added.
Still, Tate did not entirely rule out returning to her former division in the future.
“I can absolutely always go back up to 135, so I feel like this is a no harm, no foul,” Tate said. “It’s something that would bother me if I didn’t pursue it, because it’s been on my mind for a while. I’ve really been weighing all of the options and seeing some of the women who were meant to be at 125, once they went down and were really shining,” Tate said.
Tate noted she has her eyes on fellow former 135er and current women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko, who remains unbeaten at 125 after six title defenses.