Before Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey were paired off to meet for the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight title this weekend in Columbus, Ohio, they were once almost training partners.
Before Rousey made her way to Strikeoforce, Tate was at the opening of Bas Rutten’s gym in Los Angeles where she ran into famed trainer “Judo” Gene LeBell.
Lebell mentioned to Tate that he had this upcoming young fighter working under him named Ronda Rousey, and he thought it would be a good idea if they trained together. They never actually got the chance to work together, but what a story that would have been considering where they stand now.
Fast forward to 2012 where Tate and Rousey are on a collision course as the main event for Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey on Saturday night in Columbus. While they were once possibly going to end up training together, they now enter the fight as bitter enemies.
Some may call it hype or something to help build the fight, but if you ask Miesha Tate how she really feels about Ronda Rousey, she pulls no punches.
“Not only am I not a fan, I cannot stand the girl. She is full of it. I think she runs her mouth way too much. She says things that just make her look absolutely ridiculous and I think she gives women’s MMA a bad name. I don’t think she’s good representation or a good role model for the sport, period,” Tate told MMAWeekly Radio.
“Not only do I not like her, but I don’t respect her at all.”
The trash talk between Tate and Rousey started last year when the former Olympic Judoka won her fight over Julia Budd in Strikeforce, and immediately called out for a shot at the champion.
At the time, all roads appeared to be headed towards Tate facing former champion Sarah Kaufman in 2012, but Rousey convinced the powers that be otherwise. From there, the trash talk has only escalated and Tate’s been paying attention every step of the way.
While Rousey’s words have been harsh at times, brutal at others, and just downright mean, Tate has used every bit of it to fuel her training camp. She also knows that every time Rousey opens her mouth, she’s writing more and more checks that Tate is quite sure she can’t cash.
“She’s talked more trash and created more expectations for herself than she could ever live up to in this fight. She runs her mouth so much, pretty soon she’s going to realize that now it’s go time. Now I actually have to live up to these expectations that I’ve been setting, and I don’t believe she can or she will,” Tate stated.
“I think she’s going to fold under the pressure, when after the first minute and she hasn’t submitted me, or even worse, she’s taking punches and thinking ‘damn why can’t I finish this girl? I did it to everyone else’.”
Coming into the fight, Rousey has been listed as a decided favorite over the incumbent champion, which Tate has no idea why. Through her brief MMA career, Rousey has been devastating, but it isn’t a vast body of work.
Through four fights, Rousey has compiled just over two minutes of total time in the cage. Tate says that’s not nearly enough ring time for what she’s about to experience on March 3.
“Ronda is not a fighter. I haven’t seen her fight a single MMA fight yet,” Tate said. “I’ve seen her go out there and judo throw people and submit them; I’ve not seen Ronda ever fight.”
Tate promises that Rousey will feel the heat of a real fight when they meet on Saturday night. While she is sure to not let the emotion of the situation get to her, Tate knows that things between her and Rousey have gotten personal and she wants to settle the score once and for all.
The trash talk has gone over the line according to Tate, who balks at the comparisons between Rousey and UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen. Sonnen of course has become well known for his verbal attacks on opponents, most of them landing on the shoulders of UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
“She’s made it personal for me. She says it’s not personal, but it is. The difference between her and Chael is that Chael’s been around for a long time, and I think people understand that it’s more of a gimmick. He’s a funny guy and he says things that are funny. The difference with Ronda is that she’s rude. She’s not necessarily comical in everything that she says; she’s kind of a bitch to be honest,” said Tate.
“She says things like ‘well, it took me six months to do what it took Miesha Tate six years to do’ and that kind of stuff pisses me off because she’s making it look like she’s all high and mighty and she’s so much better than all of us. She doesn’t understand, and she can’t begin to fathom, where women’s MMA was six years ago. It wasn’t here; I’ll tell you that much.”
So while Tate has more than three times as many fights as her opponent, and she’s fought many tough opponents and even captured the Strikeforce title in her last fight, she says nothing will be better than beating Ronda Rousey on Saturday night.
“I don’t think for a long time to come that there will be a more satisfying win.”