Miesha Tate says Ronda Rousey vs. Cris Cyborg 'needs to happen' for women's MMA
MAY 08, 2014 6:36p ET
For the sake of women's MMA, Miesha Tate wants to see Cris Cyborg in the UFC.
Tate, one of the most popular and best female fighters in the world, believes it is important for the UFC to sign Cyborg and book a fight between her and women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey before it's too late.
"I want to see that fight and I think it needs to happen," Tate told FOX Sports on Thursday.
On Wednesday night, UFC president Dana White said on UFC Tonight that he wouldn't say "never" when it came to signing Cyborg, but the relationship between the Invicta 145-pound champion -- arguably the best women's fighter in the world -- and the UFC is fractured at best.
Rousey called Cyborg "an it" in an interview with Yahoo! Sports last month and White doubled down on his champion's comments, saying for a second time that Cyborg looked like male fighter "Wanderlei Silva in a dress" at the World MMA Awards in a media scrum before UFC 172 two weeks ago.
“It's ironic that Ronda Rousey offered to go up to 145 to fight Gina [Carano], but not Cyborg. She needs to be consistent. It needs to be 135 or not."”
The remarks came with regards to Cyborg's past steroid use. She was popped for stanozolol in 2011 and subsequently was stripped of her Strikeforce title.
Another issue with Cyborg (12-1, 1 NC) is her weight. She fights at 145 for Invicta and has said in the past that she could not make Rousey's 135-pound weight class in a healthy manner. Recently, though, Cyborg has vowed to cut the weight with the hopes of being signed by the UFC and fighting Rousey.
Rousey said she would not fight Cyborg at 145 pounds and White would not be interested in a catchweight either. Tate finds it "hilarious" that her rival Rousey won't move up in weight for Cyborg, but she said she would for Gina Carano.
"It's ironic that Ronda Rousey offered to go up to 145 to fight Gina, but not Cyborg," said Tate, who has lost to Rousey twice. "She needs to be consistent. It needs to be 135 or not."
Tate told FOX Sports last month that Carano getting a title shot against Rousey after not fighting for the last five years would not be fair. Tate is interested in fighting Carano herself, so Carano can be tested before a chance at the belt.. However, White and Rousey are both in favor of giving Carano an immediate title shot.
Regardless of what happens with Carano, Tate is a big advocate for Rousey-Cyborg.
"In any case, I feel like that fight, it needs to happen," Tate said.
The former women's bantamweight No. 1 contender was in New York on Thursday to help announce the UFC's partnership with four major area AIDS/HIV groups. As a tandem, the five organizations have launched a new public awareness campaign called "Protect Yourself," aimed at spreading the word on the importance of HIV testing and safe sex, particularly for those under 30 years old.
In 2012, half of the 50,000 Americans infected with HIV or AIDS were under the age of 30. That statistic jumped out at the 27-year-old Tate, who has three younger siblings in that age range.
"That was pretty shocking to hear that," Tate said. … "There was so much awareness when I was really young, in middle school and high school. It's almost like it has completely gone away and it's given people the impression and feeling that it didn’t exist anymore, that it was taken care of, something that nobody needed to be concerned with."
UFC featherweight Dennis Bermudez was also at the event to speak. UFC fighters are tested for AIDS and HIV before every bout.
The other organizations involved in "Protect Yourself" are the Latino Commission on AIDS, Gay Men's Health Crisis, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center and the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS of New York City.
"When I found out the statistics, I was like 'wow,'" Tate said. "Something needs to be done. … I know the demographic that [the UFC] reaches out to is generally a younger population, which connects directly to what they're trying to target."