Retirements don’t tend to last forever in mixed martial arts. Surprising news emerged that former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate will be making her UFC return in the summer.
Confirming the news with ESPN, Tate said she is set to face Marion Reneau on 17 July for her first fight since UFC 205 in 2016. As for Reneau, the 43-year-old confirmed this will be her retirement fight.
At the time of writing, it’s unclear if 17 July will be a pay-per-view event or not, nor is the location of her upcoming bout confirmed.
“My heart is full of passion, the fire has been lit,” Tate reportedly told ESPN via text message. “The sport has been calling for me, it’s time I answer.”
Tate upset the odds to lift UFC championship gold, submitting Holly Holm in the final round of their fight at UFC 196 in March, 2016 – halting Holm’s rise to stardom following her stunning knockout win over Ronda Rousey months earlier.
And it was Tate’s rivalry with Rousey that propelled both of their names as the UFC’s leading women when the promotion opened its doors to female fighters in 2012.
Tate’s last fight saw her lose by decision to Raquel Pennington. This came after she lost her title against Amanda Nunes at UFC 200 by submission.
According to ESPN, the UFC has the right to waive the six-month USADA window required for fighters coming out of retirement to re-enter its drug testing pool.
In her five year hiatus from competition, Tate has been an ever-present in the MMA world, serving as an ambassador and executive for ONE Championship since hanging up her gloves.
As for Reneau, she believes competing against “Cupcake” will be the perfect way to call it quits from fighting.
“I knew that my last fight would be when I was 43 or 44 years old,” Reneau told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “Granted, I feel amazing. I feel the best I’ve ever felt. But there just comes a time when I feel it’s time to move on and in my mind, I always knew I would finish out my contract and that was going to be it.
“I can’t think of a better situation, just because I like to say I grew up watching Miesha. She was one of my first idols when I started fighting. I used to dream about fighting her, and now it’s coming to pass in what happens to be my last hoorah.”
Reneau is on the last fight of her UFC contract, having tasted defeat to Macy Chiasson last weekend. “The Belizean Bruiser” will be on a four-fight losing run for his next fight.