If UFC bantamweight Miesha Tate had never crossed paths with champion Ronda Rousey in Strikeforce or exchanged numerous insults with her since, chances are high “Cupcake” still would have entered their UFC 168 match-up with a ton of motivation. After all, Rousey is not only unbeaten seven fights into her MMA career but one of the sport’s biggest stars.
However, their heated history is likely to play a significant factor in the December 28 tilt where Tate will look to avenge a previous submission loss to Rousey in addition to earning divisional gold. As Tate recently explained, she is confident she has the right tools to take Rousey’s title and is working harder than ever to achieve the goal given the dreadful thought of dropping another bout to her least favorite person in the industry.
“The first part of the last fight was awesome and was really competitive, but the end was not what I hoped for. I feel like she can only do that so many times before someone figures it out. I believe I’ll be the one to do it,” explained Tate in a recent interview with UFC Tonight. “She has motivated me in more ways than I thought I could be motivated. I think because of the rivalry, it’s made me that much stronger and that much more willful. I just want to train and to beat her so bad because I don’t like her on a personal level, but I do respect her as an athlete and what she’s accomplished. She was able to take everything that meant anything away from me and I want to be able to do the same.”
Tate also touched on Rousey’s repeated jabs at her longtime relationship with UFC fighter Bryan Caraway, dismissing it as little more than envy.
“I think Ronda is SO crazy! You guys will see that when (TUF 18) comes out,” said Tate. “I would assume she can’t keep a man around for any period of time, so I would probably imagine she’s pretty jealous that Bryan and I are both pretty successful fighting in the UFC and going on seven years. So she can’t keep him out of her mouth.”
Fans can catch the 13-3 Tate bump heads with Rousey as head coaches on TUF 18 before they hook up in the Octagon when the season makes its September 4 debut on FOX Sports 1.