Since winning the UFC women’s bantamweight title back in March, Miesha Tate has quickly become one of the biggest stars in the sport as well as one of the most sought after interviews on the roster.
Tate has done numerous rounds of media after her victory over Holly Holm and in the weeks leading up to her fight at UFC 200.
Being the center of attention isn’t anything new for Tate and she’s no stranger to having all manner of questions asked of her during all those different interviews.
Still as she prepares for her first title defense on July 9, Tate would really like to keep her attention on what matters right now instead of hypothetical matchups and fantasy fights.
"I know that I have to stay focused and I have to stay grounded. It’s not even so much the other obligations, it’s just everyone wants me to focus on something like the media really wants to know about Ronda (Rousey) and they want to focus on Ronda or Holly (Holm) and I’ve been quite frustrated to be honest," Tate told FOX Sports.
"I’ll politely ask not to talk about Ronda because I’m not fighting Ronda and we don’t know what’s going on with her, but they will anyways and then they caption that one section if I politely answer something. All the articles are about me and Ronda and it’s quite misleading that I’m focused on her because I’m not. I’m really trying to stay focused on Amanda. That’s the biggest battle I’ve really had to fight is with the media. That’s been the biggest frustration."
Tate has a long standing history with Rousey after facing her on two previous occasions so she understands why it’s a popular subject, but she also wants to give her upcoming opponent the respect she deserves.
Amanda Nunes has been a top bantamweight for several years and recently she’s put together a very impressive win streak including victories over former Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann and Muay Thai striker Valentino Shevchenko.
On the other hand, Rousey has been missing in action ever since her loss to Holm in 2015 and there’s still no clear indication if or when she’ll be returning to the UFC.
Tate’s larger point is that she’s on a mission to become one of the greatest champions of all time and those lofty goals go far beyond a single rivalry with Rousey, Holm or anyone else for that matter.
That’s why she’s trying to maintain attention solely on Nunes and she’ll worry about other opponents after July 9.
I want to define my legacy by defending the belt multiple times. Amanda’s the first step in doing that and I want to keep my focus on her. To be honest, Ronda is just really irrelevant to me at this point in time.
— Miesha Tate
"I just can’t afford to have my focus on the ‘what if?’. What about "the what is". This is "what is". We’ve seen titles shift hands a lot recently and I don’t want to make that mistake," Tate said.
Whether the rest of the world wants to believe Nunes has a chance to win at UFC 200 is irrelevant to Tate.
She knows the Brazilian bantamweight is one of the nastiest finishers in the sport and Tate is doing everything in her power to prepare for the showdown on July 9.
With a win at UFC 200, Tate knows the questions about Rousey, Holm and every other opponent under the sun will start again, but for now she’s only worried about the fighter trying to take her belt on July 9 and that’s Amanda Nunes.
"I cannot afford to overlook Amanda. I can’t afford to have attention on anybody else. Whether anybody realizes it or not, Amanda is a dangerous opponent," Tate said. "She’s ranked No. 4 for a reason. She’s knocked out girls with a single punch and she’s choked out a lot of girls. She’s got a lot of first round finishes. She is a strong opponent.
"I believe I will beat her, but I can’t make the mistake of overlooking her or putting my focus anywhere else. Because if I don’t accomplish this, this ruins everything everyone is already champing at the bit to draw a headline about. Things have to happen. I have to beat Amanda for that to even be a question, in my opinion."