Miesha Tate refuses to be defined by her loss to Amanda Nunes
Long before Miesha Tate stepped foot into the Octagon at UFC 200, she had already defined a legacy that will be hard to match by any fighter walking behind her.
Tate is only the second woman to hold both the Strikeforce and UFC women's bantamweight titles along with Ronda Rousey and she's continuously faced the best of the best in her division for nearly a decade.
That's why Tate refuses to allow her loss to Amanda Nunes — as devastating as it was — define what she did before that night or what she plans on doing for the rest of her career.
“That's what life is all about. Nobody is undefeated at life. I happened to have millions of people witness me in one of my biggest failures in my opinion but it doesn’t define who I am or who I came to be,” Tate told FOX Sports.
“I came to be the fighter that I am today by trying again and proving that one knockdown, one loss doesn't define me and it doesn't make me want to quit or walk away. It's just something that I have to take with a grain of salt, so to speak, learn from it and then try to get better.”
As a student of the game, Tate went back and watched the fight with Nunes to see what went wrong. Tate admits that she didn't remember large portions of what happened after Nunes landed her first right hand of the fight that knocked her for a loop.
When she finally sat down to examine the performance, Tate barely recognized the person in the cage with Nunes, much less remembering what she did after getting bludgeoned with that opening punch.
“I think that people know that wasn't truly me. They've seen me go through a lot in fights, be battle tested and fight back but Amanda Nunes has one hell of a right hand and she caught me early and clean. I lost function of my motor skills pretty much,” Tate explained. “Like I wasn't really able to get it back in time. She's a very aggressive fighter in the first round and I tried to do everything within my power but I wasn't cognitive most of that fight.
“So I really don't remember most of what was happening. When I went back and re-watched it, there were things that I didn't remember at all. It's so crazy when you get rocked that hard how your body goes into sort of a survival mode and you shut down and whatever you had muscle memory wise is what you're going to get. I lost most of my motor skill functions and my cognitive ability to really know what was going on.”
When the fight was over, Tate faced the press despite walking out onto the stage with a shattered nose and no real desire to answer questions from the media. She says her team encouraged her to face the music because that's what champions do and even though Tate was no longer holding the belt, she refused to see herself as anything less than the best.
“That was a difficult moment for me, but I'm glad that I stayed true to myself and I didn't give into the pressure to allow it to chase me off,” Tate said.
Following the disappointing fight against Nunes at UFC 200, Tate allowed herself time to heal while fixing the problems that ultimately led to the loss in the first place.
When the chance came to fight at UFC 205 — the first time the company will ever put on a show in New York — Tate jumped at the chance because this would be one more accolade to add onto her growing legacy. She was also ultra excited when the UFC offered her a matchup with Raquel Pennington, who is currently riding a three fight win streak in the division.
“I'm really thankful that the UFC still thought highly enough to give me somebody like Raquel because she is hot, she's on a win streak and fighting someone like her and getting a win over someone like her, it says a lot,” Tate said.
“They could have given me somebody coming off a loss or coming off two losses like a Holly Holm or Cat Zingano, that's great and those are great names, but when you really look at substance and consistency, Raquel is the 'it' girl right now.”
Tate is very familiar with Pennington after coaching her on “The Ultimate Fighter” a few years ago and she has nothing but the utmost respect for her as an opponent.
That being said, Tate believes this is the perfect matchup to show that her fight with Nunes was nothing more than a one bad night amidst what will likely be a Hall of Fame career.
“I think for me just sort of getting over that last loss that I feel like wasn't me,” Tate explained. “I want to prove that I'm still in this and that was a fluke performance on my part. It's not going to be consistently that way. I'm still in the running and I want to make a statement by beating someone as legit in my mind as Raquel is. She's a very legit opponent.
“I want to get that win under my belt and see where that may lead.”