by Brian Lopez-Benchimol – MMAWeekly.com
Strikeforce female 135-pound contender Miesha Tate will partake in Friday’s one-night tournament to determine the next contender for the title.
A native of Tacoma, Wash., the female standout decided to make the move to California with boyfriend and fellow fighter Bryan Caraway, in order to solidify herself as one of the best fighter’s on the planet, and no better place to do that than with Sacramento’s Team Alpha Male.
“I’m actually now training down in Sacramento at Urijah Faber’s gym,” said Tate while speaking with MMAWeekly.com.
“I’m actually living here. Brian and I moved to California, and there’s a couple of reasons for that. One of which, the trainer’s and the partner’s, they’re more readily available there at Urijah’s. He has everything.
“The thing I love about Urijah’s gym is it’s not only about the physical training, but their mentality there is unlike anywhere I’ve seen. They have this kind of brotherhood going, they just all have each other’s backs… it’s just something really different, you have to be there to experience it.”
With name’s such as the aforementioned Urijah Faber, and contenders Joseph Benavidez and Chad Mendes at her disposal, it will surely prove a valuable asset for Tate, a former national wrestling champion, as she readies herself for an undetermined opponent.
A random selection will take place on Thursday at the weigh-ins. She will face Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist Carina Damm, Japanese fighter Hitomi Akano, or Finland’s Maiju Kujala.
“It’s definitely added a different element, but that’s part of MMA,” the 23-year-old said of the blind draw.
“If you can’t adjust to it, then you’re not very successful in the sport. There’s a lot of last minute replacements that I’ve had along my career, Sarah Kaufman was one of those… it’s happened a few times. It’s one of those things, you don’t really know who you’re fighting, but you know you’ll be fighting someone, so you have to prepare yourself to be the best possible.
“Not only are you fighting one person, you’re fighting two. So no matter what, it’s not one opponent. You have to train not only for victory, but keep your mind open to the possibilities of different styles that you could be facing.”
While her goal is to win Friday night’s tournament and be crowned the next contender, Tate will still have to wait in the wings while Sarah Kaufman defends her belt against Marloes Coenen in the near future to see who she would even be fighting.
Secretly though, she’s pulling for Kaufman, hoping to exact revenge from their initial meeting in May of 2009, where Tate lost a unanimous decision.
“My ideal goal would be me and Sarah fighting for the title,” she declared.
“My long-term goal, before beating Sarah Kaufman, prioritized, would be becoming a world champion. So whoever has the belt, I would be happy to fight. But if it was Sarah Kaufman that would really sweeten the deal for me.”