It will have been over a year since Rousey last fought, losing her belt to Holly Holm at UFC 193 in November 2015, when she faces the current titleholder. Will ring rust be a factor? Should she have taken a three-round warm-up fight instead of a five-round title fight for her return after such a lengthy layoff? Will there be hesitation after suffering the first loss of her career and being knocked out for the first time?
When asked to make a prediction about the upcoming title fight, former Strikeforce and UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate raised those questions.
“I think ring rust is definitely a real thing. It can affect fighters, and you don’t know how mentally — really she’s been out of the limelight. None of us are really involved in her personal life so we don’t you don’t know how she’s dealing with that loss,” said Tate during a recent media luncheon.
“I feel like there’s so many X factors. We’ve just never seen Ronda in this state and out for so long and having been knocked out. That sense of invincibility clearly has to have been shaken. What are we dealing with, with Ronda? What are we going to get? Are we going to get a better version for it, or are we going a worse version for it? I question that a little bit being that it’s taken her so long to even want to come back,” she said.
Tate has been in the cage twice with Rousey, losing both times. In her last outing, Tate lost the UFC 135-pound title to Nunes. Although she’s spent more time preparing for fights against Rousey and more time in the cage with “Rowdy,” Tate believes she has a better understanding of where Nunes is mentally and physically heading into her first title defense against the former champion.
“I do believe I have a better grasp on where Amanda’s at. I think she’s at an all-time high,” said Tate. “She’s very confident in her ability right now and she delivers. She’s also a ferocious first-round fighter. I can’t really make a prediction, but I would not be surprised if Amanda won that fight.”
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