When Miesha Tate steps into the cage Saturday night to face Julie Kedzie at Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman, she will find herself in a position that many fighters have found themselves in over the years: a former champion who is trying to fight her way back into title contention.
In an interview with MMAjunkie.com Radio, Tate said losing the title to Ronda Rousey back in March took her back a couple of steps and that beating Kedzie would cement her comeback.
“I’m hungry again. I was at the top of the top and kind of got knocked back a little bit. There’s only one way to get back there, and that’s to keep winning fights and keep the fans happy.”
Tate expects Rousey to retain the championship against challenger Sarah Kaufman. She is also unsure that beating beating Kedzie would automatically give her a rematch for the championship. However, an impressive win for Tate could set the stage for a rematch with Rousey or Kaufman, as she has history with both fighters.
Rousey had been the one to defeat Tate for the championship back in March at Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey, while Kaufman beat Tate by decision back in 2009. Although Tate has lost to both Rousey and Kaufman, there is a case to make to put her up against whoever is holding onto the belt after Saturday night.
While Rousey did submit her in the first round of their fight, Tate was able to last longer than any of Rousey’s previous opponents. In addition to fighting Rousey in the cage, Tate has had an ongoing Twitter battle with the champion, criticizing her nude pictorial spread in ESPN’s Body issue. With the bad blood already between them, a second fight could easily be marketable as their first fight was a main event and regarded by many as the biggest fight in women’s mixed martial arts up at the time.
In the case of putting Tate up against Kaufman, Tate had accumulated a six-fight win streak and captured both the Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight title and the Strikeforce 2010 Women’s Bantamweight tournament. Tate and Kaufman’s first fight was also three three-minute rounds instead of the standard three five-minute rounds that are used in the Unified Rules of MMA. A second fight could give both Kaufman and Tate a chance to finish each other before time is up.
Before Tate can consider a chance at either Rousey or Kaufman, she has to beat Julie Kedzie. Although Kedzie is 16-9, Tate has more submission and knockout victories than Kedzie.
However, it will be Tate’s drive and motivation that will help her get back to the top.
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