Miesha Tate had a better viewpoint than just about anyone else for the war of words between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz. She was right there in the pre-fight press conference just a few feet away from both men.
During that time, in the days leading up to UFC 196, Tate says she felt the tables turn a bit between the two men. McGregor was pouring on the trash talk and Diaz was absorbing everything the Irishman had to offer, taking it in stride -- not unlike the storyline of their eventual fight.
"I feel like Nate just didn't really listen to anything that Conor had to say," Tate said this week on The Fight Network. "It was kind of in one ear and out the other. If he did listen to it, it was really just to make an argument back. Nate just was confident in himself. I felt like I could sense the energy shift from Conor to Nate in the confidence that Nate had."
McGregor was a sizable favorite against Diaz on the sports books despite the fact he was fighting two weight classes above his featherweight division. Diaz himself was one weight class up at welterweight.
In the March 5 bout, the two men went toe to toe for a round and change. McGregor gave Diaz everything he had and that was shown on Diaz's beat-up face afterward. But Diaz persevered, landing big punches in the second round, forcing McGregor into a desperation takedown and eventually choking him out for the stunning upset.
Diaz now-famously exclaimed afterward, "I'm not surprised, mother f*ckers." As it turns out, Tate wasn't too shocked, either.
"It just didn't seem like the smack talk was fazing him at all," said Tate, who won the UFC women's bantamweight title from Holly Holm one fight prior. "I wonder if that made Conor feel a little bit different, because Nate is a totally different fighter than anything that he was preparing for before that fight."
Tate, with her shiny new gold belt, will likely be going into a grudge match of her own next. UFC president Dana White has said that she will defend the title against former champ and bitter rival Ronda Rousey when Rousey returns in the fall. "Cupcake" said she might borrow some of Diaz's pre-fight strategy heading into what will surely be an emotional series of public events.
"It was interesting," Tate said. "I definitely feel like I learned a few things, as I always do going into new fights. But we'll see what's next."