Miesha Tate knows what can happen to a fighter whose head isn’t totally into the game. The popular former UFC and Strikeforce bantamweight champion was on the wrong end of a one-sided loss to Raquel Pennington at UFC 205, and, realizing her heart wasn’t really into the fight, she decided to retire from mixed martial arts on the spot.
And Tate believes her rival, Ronda Rousey, no longer really has her head in the game. Rousey has decided to wall herself off from fans and media in this week’s buildup to her Friday night title fight with current champion Amanda Nunes. And to Tate, that could very well be a sign that Rousey has already mentally checked out.
“Maybe she doesn’t really want to be doing this,” Rousey said on the FS1 show “Undisputed” on Wednesday. “Maybe she doesn’t want to do it. Maybe she said ‘look, I’ll do it under one condition, I’ll do it my way.’ And so I just think maybe she doesn’t want to be here doing this right now.”
The way Tate sees it, Rousey shouldn’t be exempt from doing interviews, which help sell the fight and in turn puts more money into the pockets of fighters who get cuts of the pay-per-view business.
“I think this is a huge fight and I think both of them should be doing the media, being accessible a little bit to the fans,” Tate said. “I sympathize, it’s fight week, but you have to do it, there’s never been any exceptions.“
Unlike Conor McGregor, who responded to his loss to Nate Diaz by demanding an immediate rematch, winning, and becoming a bigger star than ever in the process, Rousey disappeared for a year after her UFC 193 loss to Holly Holm.
And according to Tate, Rousey’s seeming hesitance to make her return could be yet another sign she doesn’t really want to come back.
“If she really wanted to be fighting, I think we would have seen get back there,” Tate said. “Really competitive people, when they lose, they’re all ‘I want to get back in and do it again, do it again, do it again and prove I can get better.’ I’m not saying that’s always a wise decision but typical some people who lose, they want to fight, go back in there and get their redemption. Taking a year and some change off says that she wants to do some other things. I don’t think she wants to be in there fighting anymore.”
Another thing Tate knows? Nunes hits like a truck and won’t be an easy return to the cage for Rousey. Nunes ran over Tate to claim the bantamweight belt at UFC 200.
“I have never been hit that hard in my life, and she packs one hell of a punch. I’ll tell you one thing, it’s only going to take one of those to land clean and she’s going to ring Ronda’s bell. ... If she gets one of those on the button, it’s going to be a game changer.
“When push comes to shove, I don’t know if Ronda’s heart is in it any more. Amanda’s is.”