Miesha Tate won’t get fooled again.
At least, that is the plan heading into her year-end clash with Ronda Rousey, who took Tate’s Strikeforce title last year via first-round armbar. According to Tate, she allowed her personal dislike for Rousey to affect her in that fight -- an error that ultimately contributed to her defeat. At UFC 168, in her second meeting with the now-UFC champion, Tate plans to approach the conflict as a pure athletic contest.
“I didn’t get into fighting to beat up people I didn’t like. I’m going out there to test myself, and I’m doing my best to put the personal dislike aside and look at it like a competition. The belt is all that matters at the end of day,” Tate said Wednesday at a UFC press conference in New York City. “I think I learned a lot in that fight. Before the fight, I didn’t respect her, and now I do. She’s the world champ and the best in the room. I underestimated her, and I won’t make same mistake again.”
Since their initial meeting, both Tate and Rousey admitted that they have not always been at odds, with both bringing up the moments after Tate’s technical knockout loss to Cat Zingano this past April. Following the controversial stoppage, Rousey approached Tate to offer her condolences and congratulations on a hard-fought bout.
“It was cool to see the respect from her. There have been a couple glimmers of hope, but I felt disrespected from get-go,” said Tate. “When she was, like, 3-0 or 4-0, in one of her first interviews, she said she was going to come down to 135 [pounds] and slap the title out of my hands. [Anybody] would have taken that personally. It escalated from there, and that’s really all it is.”
Though her defeat to Zingano initially cost Tate a chance at coaching opposite Rousey on “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 18, “Cupcake” was later called upon to replace the injured Zingano, who seriously hurt her knee in training. As a result, Tate will receive her sought-after rematch on Dec. 28, live on pay-per-view from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“I’ve changed a little bit of training strategy, and I have a better idea of what it’s like to be in there,” said Tate. “I always strive to learn and improve, and coming off a loss is when I learn the most. I learned a lot about my fighting style, and I’m looking forward to making the most of a second shot.”