There are few things shared in life between sworn enemies Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate, but the emotional discomfort of losing is now one of them.
Rousey’s current mental state is somewhere Tate has been before. After peeling off five victories in a row and winning the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight title, Tate must have felt invincible. Then, she faced Rousey in her first title defense and lost via armbar. Obviously, Tate was devastated.
So, when Tate heard how hard Rousey took her loss against Holly Holm, Tate understood the dark place that Rousey fell into.
“I’ve been there before -- not considering suicide, I never took it that seriously -- but I sympathize with those emotions,” Tate told Sherdog.com this week ahead of her bout with Holm at UFC 196. “[Losing a big fight] was one of the hardest things I ever had to do and it’s a feeling that you cannot begin to understand until you’ve been at the bottom of the barrel and kicked while you are down.”
The world probably felt like it was collapsing on Tate’s head when she lost both of her fights to Rousey. It wasn’t just a fight. It was a heated rivalry that culminated into a pair of highly anticipated battles that saw Tate end up with the short end of the stick. But the resilient Tate didn’t let those setbacks ruin her. After both losses she went back to the drawing board, sucked it up and trained harder. She wonders if Rousey will be able to do the same.
“I think that this will be a pivotal moment in Ronda’s career,” Tate said. “I think losses can break people to the point of no return... The world is curious to see when Ronda comes back whether she will be able to adjust or not. I think she’s a pretty headstrong person, but we’ll see what happens.”
What’s interesting is how Tate reflects on her second loss to Rousey. Instead of feeling that her emotions got the best of her heading into those fights, Tate feels the exact opposite took place against her rival.
“I think I wasn’t emotionally invested enough, actually,” she said. “I was so drained and sick of being on ‘TUF,’ tired of seeing her every single day and trying to keep my cool that I think I fell flat going into that second fight. I don’t feel like I was as into it.”
Tate says that the biggest lesson learned was to not spread herself too thin between media obligations, training and dealing with her opponent. It ended up making her dislike the sport with which she had fallen in love.
“I was tired going into that fight and I wasn’t enjoying it anymore,” she said. “That’s not a fun feeling. I got into this sport because I love it and I don’t want to hate it.”
This new version of Tate has made a point of not doing too many things outside of training before Saturday’s title fight. With a renewed focus and energy, Tate believes that she has what it takes to hand Holm her first loss. If Rousey wants to face Tate upon her return, that’s great. If she prefers to avenge her only loss, that’s fine as well, because Tate is just as curious as the rest of the world to see if the loss was a fluke.
“I want to see it again to see if [the upset] was real, too,” Tate said. “I’m 100-percent on that page but they just might have to accept the terms that it won’t be a title fight, because I’m going to have the belt.”