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Miesha Tate says The Ultimate Fighter 18 will be 'Real World meets TUF'

Esther Lin

When Miesha Tate was informed by Dana White that the winner of her fight with Cat Zingano would get a coaching slot opposite Ronda Rousey on the next season of "The Ultimate Fighter," she had the same question as many: Would they be coaching men or women?

And when she found out the answer is both, she also had a similar reaction to many. The former Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion explained it on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour.

"My first question was ‘coaching guys or girls?' and he said ‘both,'" Tate said. "He said 'It's going to be crazy. I said ‘you better have mandatory birth control and lots of condoms available, ‘cause it's going to get crazy, and getting knocked up isn't very good for your career.' And he said ‘yeah I know, its worse than getting knocked out.'

"I'm excited for it, I think it's going to be wild. I think it's going to be Real World meets TUF, and I don't know, I have this idea or joke actually that all the girls are going to be lesbians or hooking up with all the girls, and all the boys are going on there with hope they're thinking we'll be the first guys and this is going to be awesome."

Of course, Tate can't afford to get too far ahead of herself. First she has Saturday's bout with Zingano at the Mandalay Bay Events Center to take care of at the TUF 17 Finale. While Zingano isn't yet as well known to the fans as Rousey and Tate, she's undefeated and has a propensity for fast finishes.

"I feel like I did a great job keeping myself grounded and I'm never the kind of person to get excited about something that, when I know there's something I have to do before that," Tate said. "So I'm not going to be all excited about ‘The Ultimate Fighter' and excited about Ronda when I still a huge obstacle in my way and that's Cat. There is no ‘Ultimate Fighter' and there is no Ronda without beating Cat, so anytime I found myself even thinking about ‘The Ultimate Fighter' I immediately switched gears, I start thinking about Cat Zingano and the fight, and beating her, because that's what's most important for me."

There's an extra layer of intrigue in this fight, as Tate spent time training at The MMA Lab in the Phoenix area at the invitation of UFC lightweight Benson Henderson, who like Tate is a native of Tacoma, Wash. But Tate arrived not long after Zingano had trained at the facility.

"I wanted to go down there and train, but it hadn't solidified anything," Tate said. "It had been talked about. Then all of a sudden she just showed up there when I was in Japan with Bryan [Caraway]. ... Then I came back for UFC 157, and she left for whatever reason, but she was there a few days, not a long time. She went back home to be with her family and whatnot, and now the door was open. So I went down, and it's kind of an advantage on my part, because they got to see her train for a few days, and I worked with her same training partners, so I think that will be an advantage."

"I ended up there because Benson and I grew up in the same hometown, we grew up about 10-15 minutes away from each other, although I didn't know that until I discovered him in MMA," said Tate. "He was always inviting me down there to train, and I wanted to train somewhere with a similar climate to Vegas, obviously Washington is still very cold, so I decided, you know what, what better time to come down than now to go down and check it out? I was a good experience."

Meanwhile, Tate made news recently as a cornerwoman, when she was caught on camera telling her boyfriend, Caraway, to coast in round three of her UFC on Fuel 8 bout with Takeya Mizugaki. Caraway ended up losing the fight on a split decision.

Tate owned up to making a mistake with her words.

"It was terrible advice," Tate said. "I know that, and I know, when I watch a fight, when they say something similar, I think they should never tell a fighter that. I have to take responsibility for that, I'm not a professional cornerman, I do that very rarely, I don't coach a lot, and when you get to the heat of the moment, you have 60 seconds, really its a good lesson, you're rushing to get to the cage and then you have to get out of the cage, you have 45 seconds to say something and calm the fighter down, or you think is going to help them. My thought process going into third round was I really felt he won the first two rounds, but even so I know I shouldn't have said that, but he went in there with a pretty serious back injury in training, to the point he wasn't able to walk, and I was afraid for his conditioning."

Tate also said prospective TUF fighters shouldn't use this mistake against her. But again, that's getting a bit ahead of things.

"I can't believe that this is actually happening," she said. "There's part of my that's still in a little bit of disbelief because it's been such a dream for such a long time, but it's actually here and it's here sooner than I anticipated, and I'm really excited and I know I have to make the most of it, and I'm 110 percent ready for that."

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