After more than four and a half years away from the cage, Miesha Tate is back!
The fan favourite and former UFC women’s bantamweight champion makes her return to the octagon this Saturday night, July 17, where she’ll take on Marion Reneau in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 31 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
And, with all-conquering two-division champion Amanda Nunes blasting her way through all comers at both 135 and 145 pounds, there could be a chance that, if Tate looks good in her return to action, we could see a rematch between “Cupcake” and “The Lioness” somewhere down the line.
Tate captured the women’s bantamweight title in dramatic fashion on a wild night at UFC 196. In front of a raucous crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Tate found herself down on the scorecards and heading toward a decision defeat to then-champion Holly Holm in the night’s co-main event.
Tate’s attempts to take the former boxing world champion off her feet and into the grappling realm had proved unsuccessful as “The Preacher’s Daughter” used her smart footwork and slick striking to keep the gritty Tate at bay.
But the former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion would not be denied, as Tate showed her heart and fighting spirit to muster a final effort in the fifth round that brought the ultimate reward.
Tate kept the pressure on and finally managed to drag Holm to the mat. And, with just 90 seconds remaining in the fight, she managed to lock up a rear-naked choke that rendered Holm unconscious and earned her the UFC women’s bantamweight title.
Tate’s title reign didn’t last long, however, as she was finished by Nunes in the main event of UFC 200. That win kick-started the Brazilian’s reign of dominance over the women’s 135-pound division that continues to this day. Tate, meanwhile, fought twice more before eventually announcing her retirement from the octagon.
“Cupcake” didn’t leave the MMA space completely, however. She quickly established herself as a talented and respected broadcaster, particularly on Sirius XM Radio, and was later tapped to join Asian MMA promotion ONE Championship as a vice president.
But despite enjoying successes away from the cage, the desire to compete again has lured Tate back to the octagon, where she will make her return to action against Reneau on Saturday night.
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And, judging by the photos she’s shared on her Instagram in the lead-up to her comeback fight, she looks in the best shape of her career.
“I’ve never been in this good of shape, I’ve never taken my job more seriously,” she told her two million followers in June.
“I have tools and resources never available to me before.
“Everything is on the line. My body has done the most incredible things, but the best is yet to come!
“This is going to be a HOT 2nd run, I’m hitting the ground running.”
Photo credit: @MieshaTate (Instagram)