SAN DIEGO -- Under normal circumstances, winning a battle that will likely end up on the short list of candidates for Fight of the Year is a cause for celebration.
But after Miesha Tate rallied to defeat Julie Kedzie via third-round armbar in one of the most stirring, back-and-forth mixed martial arts matches of 2012 on Saturday night at the Valley View Casino Center, Tate was her own harshest critic.
"At this point, I don't feel that my performance, I mean everyone is saying it was ‘Fight of the Night' and everything and that's great and I'm really happy it was an entertaining bout," said Tate. "But I personally am not happy with my performance. I definitely don't think it was a contention worthy performance."
In her first fight since losing the title to Rousey in March, Tate found herself facing a motivated veteran in Kedzie. Kedzie dominated Tate for the bulk of the first round before Tate worked Kedzie into a late submission attempt.
Tate rallied to win the second round, but found herself in danger in the third. Tate ate a nasty Kedzie head kick and appeared to be seconds away from being finished on the ground. But Tate managed to avoid the finish and ultimately maneuvered her way into an armbar, forcing Kedzie to tap with 92 seconds remaining in the fight.
"I felt like I was aware the whole time," Tate said, of Kedzie's head kick. "She obviously got me good, but, I mean, before I hit the ground I was aware, I felt her punches, and, you know, I just kind of worked my way through from there."
But regardless of the exciting nature of her victory, a self-aware Tate said that she doesn't feel like she deserves the next shot at Rousey, who defended her title with a first-round submission of Sarah Kaufman on Saturday night.
"I'm not going to ask for that at that point because I don't feel that I deserve it," Tate said. "I think that I need to take a couple fights and I need a better performance than that. I think the fans deserve something better, and I know that I can deliver better than that."