Fight between Miesha Tate, debuting Rin Nakai targeted for UFC Japan event
JUN 18, 2014 7:06p ET
Miesha Tate's verbal barbs against the likes of Sarah Kaufman and Cat Zingano might just be a smoke screen.
The former Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion's next fight could come against someone who is not currently signed by the UFC -- and it's not Gina Carano. UFC Tonight's Ariel Helwani is reporting that a bout between Tate and undefeated Japanese women's MMA star Rin Nakai is in the works for the UFC's Sept. 20 show in Japan.
Tate (14-5) has said publicly that she would like to fight Carano, Kaufman or Zingano next. She told FOX Sports on Monday that she wants to settle a personal vendetta against Kaufman, who beat her in Strikeforce, and also has some issues with Zingano. Carano would be her top choice to fight, she said, because of the marketability of the matchup.
But it looks like none of those three will be next for one of the UFC's biggest female stars. Nakai (16-0-1) is extremely popular in Japan and regarded as one of the best women's fighters in the world. MMARising.com's unified women's rankings have the 27-year-old Nakai at No. 10 at 135 pounds, just below Liz Carmouche, who Tate beat at FOX UFC Saturday in April.
Like Tate in the states and elsewhere, Nakai is a sex symbol in Japan. She is currently champion in the Pancrase organization and her biggest wins have come over veterans Sarah D'Alelio and Tara LaRosa.
Tate is coming off that win against Carmouche, but before that lost to UFC champion Ronda Rousey and Zingano. Tate, 27, has already lost to Rousey twice and is in the position of being extremely marketable, but not necessarily a title contender.
UFC Fight Night at Japan's Saitama Super Arena will be headlined by a heavyweight slugfest between Mark Hunt and Roy Nelson. It is likely the card will air live on UFC Fight Pass.