Few fighters in the game of mixed martial arts have been able to achieve the level of notoriety that the former UFC Women’s Bantam Weight Champion Miesha Tate has.
She didn’t have the Olympic pedigree of a Ronda Rousey or the elite boxing skills of a Holly Holm. However, her never-say-die attitude, along with the ability to absorb damage and keep coming earned her the respect of her peers as well as MMA fans around the world.
Tate was born in Tacoma, Washington which is where she first fell in love with the sport of wrestling. In fact, Tate would go on to win the state championship her senior year at Franklin Pierce High School.
Her first experience with mixed martial arts came in college while she was attending Central Washington University. It was there she joined her first MMA club and began a journey that ended with her becoming one of the most recognized names in the sport.
Her career certainly had its ups and downs, but there was rarely a dull moment when Miesha Tate was competing in the Octagon.
Tate’s abrupt retirement from the sport in November of 2016 was surprising. While fans may never see Tate compete in the octagon again, they can still relive all the highlights (and the lowlights) as we take a look at 8 photos Miesha Tate wants you to see and 7 she doesn’t.
15 Does: Being Labeled The Most Beautiful Woman In MMA
One of Miesha Tate's best moments outside of the cage came back in 2013. That was the year that the former UFC Champion appeared on the cover of Fitness Gurls magazine. The cover also featured a caption which proclaimed that Miesha Tate is “the most beautiful woman in MMA.” After seeing photos like the one above it’s difficult to argue with their assessment.
For folks out there who are wondering how Tate manages to stay in such great shape, it’s actually a combination of several different exercises. In an interview with FitnessGurls.com, she had the following tip for those out there are trying to get in shape; “Find something you enjoy doing whether it's hiking, biking, cardio kickboxing, jogging or even BJJ, so you don’t lose interest.”
14 Doesn't: 1st Loss To Ronda Rousey
Miesha Tate’s infamous rivalry with Ronda Rousey began back in 2012 while both women were competing in the promotion known as Strikeforce. Tate, who was the Strikeforce Champion at the time, was originally supposed to fight Bantamweight mainstay Sara Kaufman for the belt. However, the promotion opted to go with Rousey instead, who at that point in time had won all four of her professional fights via 1st round armbar. Tate criticized the decision to give Rousey the shot and claimed that it was based on Rousey’s appearance as opposed to any real merit.
The fight took place in Columbus, Ohio on March 3, 2012. That night it was Rousey who emerged the victor after forcing Tate to submit via her signature armbar late in the 1st round. Tate suffered ligament damage due to refusing to immediately tap one when armbar was synched in, adding to an already disappointing evening.
13 Does: Posing For The Body Issue
As a professional athlete, you know you have made a name for yourself when you are asked to pose for ESPN The Magazine’s “The Body Issue.” Apparently, Tate had achieved enough notoriety to warrant an appearance in the publication back in 2013, when she decided to bare all for the publication.
When asked about modeling for the Magazine, Tate told USA Today; “"I'm not going to lie, I was a little nervous when they first approached me. It really took some quality group decision making for me to do it. But now that I did it, it was an awesome experience, and I'm definitely very honored to be a part of this issue." Interestingly enough, her longtime rival Ronda Rousey had also been featured in“The Body Issue” in 2012.
12 Doesn’t: TKO’d By Cat Zingano
Miesha Tate’s debut in the UFC was on April 13, 2013, in a bout against Cat Zingano. It was announced prior to the fight that the winner of the contest would go on to face Ronda Rousey for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship. Moreover, the winner of Zingano and Tate would go on to be a coach for the upcoming season of the reality television series The Ultimate Fighter.
Tate got off to a fast start against Zingano that evening. In fact, she had likely won the first two rounds of the contest, before the ref awarded the bout to Zingano via TKO, due to knee strikes. Tate argued that the stoppage was premature, but the decision stood. Zingano wound up pulling out the show, and Tate got the shot at Rousey anyway. That being said, the bout against Zingano is one Tate would likely prefer to forget.
11 Does: Winning UFC Gold
Winning the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship was without question the highlight of Miesha Tate’s career. This happened on November 14, 2015, when she defeated Holly Holm via submission in the 5th round of their bout.
Holm entered the contest with a great deal of momentum on her side, having become the first woman to defeat Ronda Rousey in what was considered one of the biggest upset in the sports relatively brief history. The upset combined with the fact that Tate had previously been defeated by Rousey on two separate occasions, made Holm the favorite heading into the fight.
While the bout was a competitive one, it is likely Holm had won 3 of the first 4 rounds heading into the 5th and final round. However, Tate was able to secure a takedown and apply a rear naked choke, which resulted in the biggest win of her career.
10 Doesn't: Failed Handshake
Even the most casual MMA fans know that Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey do not care for each other in the least. The two were bitter rivals in their Strikeforce days, had heated exchanges during their time coaching on The Ultimate Fighter, and had choice words for each other during the build up to their second fight.
However, despite all the animosity between the two, following their 2nd matchup, Tate was prepared to bury the hatchet and offered to shake Rousey’s hand following the contest. Rousey refused Tate’s gesture and walked away, much to the displeasure of the audience, who began to boo loudly. The image above captures the moment, which slightly altered public perception of the then-unbeaten Champion. While it was Rousey who may have looked like the poor sport, it still had to a little embarrassing for Tate who was left hanging.
9 Does: Helping A 6-Year-Old Girl
Miesha Tate showed that she is a hero both in and outside of the cage when she helped a little girl with a broken arm down a mountain. Tate’s Instagram post summed the story up nicely; “ Today a little girl broke her arm up at the top of Mary Jane Falls (Mt Charleston), and I saw her meekly built mother struggling to carry her daughter down the mountain, so I offered to carry the little girl to the bottom. I preceded to carry the sweet little thing all the way to the bottom. Kai and I learned a lot about each other on the roughly 2-mile descent, and It's fair to say she inspired me. We made it all the way down without slipping or falling! We agreed we would both be strong for each other! Teamwork at it's best!”
8 Doesn’t: Bryan Caraway Vs. Ronda Rousey Controversy
Tate’s longtime boyfriend and coach is UFC Bantamweight contender Brian Caraway. During Tate’s feud with Rousey, Caraway interjected himself and had some choice words for his girlfriends rival which he shared with the Twitter universe.
On the social media outlet, he referred to Rousey as an “unintelligent bimbo.” Caraway even went so far as to post “and if she wants to challenge a man I'll knock her teeth down her throat the(n) break her arm!” Furthermore, Caraway followed up with another tweet that said “oh I don’t hit Women! But she(s), not women. [sic] She gonna act like a dude she can deal w(ith) the consequences.”As one might expect, Caraway suggesting that he would cause physical harm to a woman didn’t go over well the general public. Caraway ended up looking pretty bad, as did Tate to a lesser degree by association.
7 Does: Winning The Strikeforce Belt
One of Tate’s career highlights came on July 30, 2011, when she won the Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Championship.
Fresh off of winning a one-night Strikeforce women’s bantamweight tournament, Miesha Tate was scheduled to face the legendary Marloes Coenen for the Strikeforce gold. The Tacoma native was able to defeat Coenen via submission (arm-triangle choke) in the 4th round of the matchup. Submitting Marloes Coenen was especially impressive given her impressive jiu-jitsu pedigree.
At this point, there weren’t any women competing in the UFC. Thus, the Strikeforce title was considered by many to be the most prestigious female championship in MMA. When she went on to win the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship in 2016, Tate became only the second woman in MMA history to hold both the Strikeforce and UFC women’s titles.
6 Doesn’t: Losing The UFC Title
After her upset win over Holly Holm to capture the UFC Bantamweight Championship, Tate’s next challenger would be Amanda Nunes at UFC 200 in July of 2016. Tate entered the contest as a betting favorite but wasn’t able to deliver that night. In fact, Nunes made relatively short work of the former high school standout and submitted her in the very 1st round of the contest. This loss marked the first time Tate had been stopped in the opening round since her initial contest with Ronda Rousey back in 2012.
While it was certainly a fight Tate would like to forget, it must have made her feel a little bit better that Nunes also defeated her rival Ronda Rousey in the 1st round with relative ease, a few months later.
5 Does: Saving Bryan Caraway’s Mother
One of Tate’s biggest moments outside the octagon came in 2014 when she saved the life of her boyfriend Bryan Caraway’s mother.
The story begins with Caraway wanting to take his parents and his girlfriend on a family vacation to Mexico. Caraway's mother had asthma and carried an inhaler with her everywhere she went. While they were snorkeling in the Caribbean, Mrs. Caraway dropped her inhaler in the ocean, and then suffered an asthma attack while swimming. Tate swam up to try and assist her and recalled that her face had already turned blue when she arrived. Fortunately, they had an extra inhaler nearby, and Tate was able to use the inhaler and some mouth-to-mouth recesatation to revive her. In this instance, Tate truly was a life saver.
4 Doesn’t: 2nd Rousey Loss
When you really sit back and take a look at Miesha Tate’s career, it seems like most of her low moments involve Ronda Rousey. Her second fight with her rival turned out to be another disappointing one for former high school wrestling state champ.
Tate showed improvement from their initial bout and became the first woman to survive a round against Rousey. While she did land a few decent shots during the contest, the outcome ultimately remained the same as Rousey once again submitted Tate with her signature armbar in the 3rd round of the bout. This would be the final contest between the two women; thus ending the rivalry with Rousey up 2-0. Interestingly enough, Tate has stated that that one fight that would bring her out of retirement would be a trilogy fight with Rousey.
3 Does: UFC Win Streak
Miesha Tate’s UFC career got off to a rough start after losing consecutive fights to Cat Zingano and Ronda Rousey. However, after the Rousey loss, Tate went on the most impressive run of her MMA career, winning five fights in a row and ultimately capturing the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship.
During her run, she defeated the likes of Liz Carmouche, Olympic wrestler Sara McMann, Rin Naki, and even the savvy veteran Jessica Eye. This was one of the most impressive runs in the history of the UFC Women’s Bantamweight division. Of course, the biggest win of the streak came against Holly Holm when Tate became the UFC Women’s Champion. The five-fight win streak will likely play a huge role in Tate being inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame someday.
2 Doesn’t: Abrupt Retirement
Even the best mixed martial arts careers rarely have a happy ending and they almost always conclude on the heels of a heartbreaking loss. After a Hall of Fame worthy run in the UFC, Tate’s career ended with a decision loss to Bantamweight contender Raquel Pennington.
On paper, the match looked like the perfect opportunity for Tate to pick up a win and get back on track after losing the belt to Amanda Nunes. However, the former champ struggled out of the gate and couldn’t get anything going against Pennington. After losing the bout via unanimous decision, Tate immediately announced her retirement from the sport of mixed martial arts. There have certainly been worse endings to a career in combats sports, but it’s still likely that Tate had a better swan song in mind.
1 Does: Fox Sports Analyst
Tate is one of the more articulate women in combat sports today and as such, was asked to join the Fox Sports 1 team as an analyst. The former Bantamweight Champion's experience in the ring allows for her offer a unique perspective when breaking down a fight.
Tate told foxsports.com the following when asked about the gig; “There’s a lot of fighters I didn’t know before that I became a fan of just by watching their fights. Before, I was a casual fan of the sport, you’d watch the fights and you’re talking but now I really pay attention to the fights. Now I kind of stalk these fighters. I look at their Twitter page, I talk to them, I get to know them and you become a much bigger fan of individuals.” It looks like fight fans will still be seeing Tate on their television set for years to come.