Miesha Tate: Sara McMann is one dimensional but it works for her
When Miesha Tate first started fighting in 2007 she was a former high school wrestling standout who excelled at applying her grappling game to make it through a laundry list of opponents during the genesis of her career.
As time went on and fighters got better, Tate was forced to adapt her style and become a better mixed martial artist, adding new weapons to her arsenal with every matchup possible.
Now Tate is preparing for the 21st fight in her career against Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann, whose wrestling heavy style reminds to former Strikeforce champion of the exact kind of fighter she used to be.
"When I see her fight, I see a lot of myself when I was less developed," Tate told FOX Sports when talking about McMann. "Now I’m a little bit more well rounded, a little more seasoned to take a punch, to give a punch, I’m comfortable in the striking game now. I have a pretty well versed ground game.
"It’s interesting when I watch some of her footage and tapes and I’m like ‘I remember when I used to not be so comfortable on the feet’. When somebody would hit me, I would be like ‘I have to wrestle, I better wrestle because I don’t think I can out strike them’ and I see that in her a little bit."
I would say yes she is a little bit more one dimensional than some of the other fighters that are maybe a little more seasoned, but she’s been able to win fights with that. She’s smart in the sense that why is she going to fix something that’s been working
— Miesha Tate on Sara McMann
McMann has used her wrestling to out work and out maneuver opponents ever since she transitioned to the sport. She averages over six takedowns per 15 minutes inside the cage and puts her opponents on the mat with incredible 75-percent accuracy.
It’s a potent attack, but one that’s also slightly predictable. Of course, Tate knows what McMann does well and she has no doubts what her opponent is going to do when they meet at UFC 183 on Saturday night.
Tate’s job is to stop it.
"I would say yes she is a little bit more one dimensional than some of the other fighters that are maybe a little more seasoned, but she’s been able to win fights with that. She’s smart in the sense that why is she going to fix something that’s been working?" Tate said.
"What we have seen of her fights they have been very wrestling focused and somewhat one-dimensional. But people thought that about (Ronda) Rousey for a really long time until she was pushed out of her comfort zone a little bit."
The key, according to Tate, is to make McMann fight to earn every takedown and then make her work even harder once the fight is on the ground. Whether it’s reversals, sweeps, submission attempts or simply getting up from the mat, Tate intends to push McMann further than anybody ever has in the past.
Tate wants to find out what happens when McMann’s wrestling doesn’t work. Does she have a plan B?
"I know that I have a style matchup that’s going push Sara out of her comfort zone," Tate said. "I know that I have more wrestling experience than any of the girls she’s fought previously and beaten. I think I have the strengths in standing and grappling. She may have the strength in wrestling, but MMA wrestling and straight wrestling are definitely two different things.
"I think that my MMA wrestling matches up with her MMA wrestling much more equally than if we were going to be in a straight wrestling match and that gives me a lot of confidence. I know what I have to do to beat her."
With her No. 2 ranking in the division and a two-fight win streak currently, Tate hopes by adding McMann’s name to her resume that it will push her that much closer to another title shot and potentially a third fight against Rousey.
Tate knows she has what it takes to beat McMann as well as finish her. She also knows the way McMann could potentially win this fight although it gives Tate all 15 minutes to figure out how to counter.
"I have way more ability to finish this fight. That’s what every fighter should strive to do is to finish fight. Sometimes with her she’ll take the opportunity if it’s right there, if you give her something, but other than that with her wrestling style she’s comfortable to just ride the time out on top and getting away with a decision," Tate said.
"That’s never something I want to happen. In this fight, I definitely have the advantage of being able to finish the fight."
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