The Return of Miesha Tate

Retirements in MMA aren’t exactly ironclad, but when Meisha Tate announced she was hanging up the gloves back in 2016 to step into an executive role with ONE FC. It felt as though we’d seen Cupcake in the octagon for the last time.  But fast forward five years later, and we are right on the heels of Tates return to the Octagon where she put on a stellar performance against Marion Reneau. 

Tate’s performance went about as good as you could expect when you take into account how long she has been out. This game is steadily and constantly evolving, and the sport tends to pass even the most seasoned fighters by if they aren’t consistently working on improving their skill set. Never mind fighters who step away from the game for five years such as Tate did. But upon her return, Tate’s performance indicates that she hasn’t skipped a beat. 

From the very beginning, she took the center of the Octagon and controlled the fight from bell to bell against a very tough girl in Marion Reneau. Without question, Tate’s striking has improved since we last saw her. On the feet she’s more confident than ever, she was always pushing forward, being efficient with her movement and not wasting shots. She controlled distance well while landing punches and did a good job getting out of the way of Reneau’s offense. 

Tate’s bread and butter has always been grappling and she showed it off in this fight. The first round ended with a very well-timed takedown that saw Tate end the round on top position. Just over two minutes into the second round, Tate had Reneau picked up off the cage and executed a high amplitude slam that marked the beginning of controlling the rest of round. In the third, Tate came out, shot the takedown, took Reneau’s back, and pounded on her until the ref called a halt to the contest less than two minutes into the final stanza. 

Just like that, Tate is back in the mix. At the post-fight press conference, she was very clear about her intentions. She stopped short of making any call-outs, stating that she wants to sit back and absorb the win for a while before she starts looking at what’s next. But she was adamant about one day making it back to the title to regain what current champion Amanda Nunes took from her back in 2016.

But for now, the reigning and defending champ already has a date set for her next title defense against Julianna Pena at UFC 265.  It would be foolish to disregard Pena as a viable threat to the crown, she most certainly is. But at the end of the day, Nunes is the greatest female fighter of all time and has shown absolutely no signs of slowing down since winning the title from Tate all those years ago. Anything can happen, but in all likelihood, Nunes will remain the champion after her next fight and likely still be holding the title by the time Tate works her way back up.

That is of course if Tate can continue to perform as she did on Saturday night against the higher caliber of competition. Depending on who Tate fights, and how those contests go, she could very well be just a couple of fights away from a crack against the woman who took the title from her in the first place. But it isn’t much good to speculate about these possibilities at this juncture as there are just too many variables at play, MMA is too unpredictable and you can seldom count on a sure thing. 

 

But one thing that is for certain is that it’s great to have her back. Aside from the potential great matchups that are out there, she’s just an awesome representative of Mixed Martial Arts in general. In a day and age of the sport where bad PR crops up in the worst of ways, it’s nice to have a centered and genuine person who says and does all the right things around. Tate’s return is a breath of fresh air and an added element of intrigue to the bantamweight division. Can’t go wrong having her back in the mix, she’s as good as gold. 

Are you ready to make your fight picks? Head over to fanduel and enter the fight night contest for this weekend!

 

 

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