“Ultimate Fighter” Season 18 coaches Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate have never been the best of friends, but that fact has not stopped either fighter from giving the other her due respect.
“I’ve always respected Miesha as a fighter and an athlete,” Rousey recently told Fox Sports. “How we feel personally really has nothing to do with that. I think she’s entirely legit, but I don’t really feel bad about hitting her.”
Rousey and Tate first met last year under the Strikeforce banner, when then-champion Tate put her title on the line against the unbeaten Olympic judo bronze medalist. Like all of Rousey’s opponents before her, Tate was unable to escape Rousey’s trademark armbar and tapped out late in round one after having her elbow dislocated.
Following the title-winning performance, Rousey went on to quickly submit former titlist Sarah Kaufman before transitioning to the UFC, where she was christened the promotion’s inaugural women’s champion and defended her belt successfully against Liz Carmouche this past February in the UFC 157 headliner.
Tate, meanwhile, initially saw her chance to coach opposite Rousey on “TUF 18” go up in smoke after falling to Cat Zingano in a third-round technical knockout last month. “Cupcake” was dealt an unexpected opportunity when Zingano recently went down with a knee injury, however, and Tate answered the call to replace “Alpha.” As a result, Tate now finds herself as Rousey’s “TUF 18” co-star and will challenge the submission specialist for the UFC title following the reality show’s run on Fox Sports 1.
“It’s going to be really interesting for all of the fans who have kept up with [our] rivalry up to this point, and it will be really exciting for people who are learning of it for the first time,” Rousey said. “I’m actually honored to be coaching opposed her on the show, and I think this is really what was fated to happen. I’m really lucky to have a rival like her.”