The women's bantamweight title is a hot potato, as evidenced yet again at UFC 200 on Saturday night.
Miesha Tate, making her first title defense against Amanda Nunes in the main event at the T-Mobile Arena, knew that the title could change hands quickly. She had won it from Holly Holm at UFC 196, and Holm had won it from Ronda Rousey at UFC 193 in November.
She also knew that the Brazilian Nunes was a fast starter. But that knowledge didn't save her from getting taken apart by Nunes in the first round, and ultimately submitted via rear-naked choke.
Afterwards a reflective Tate appeared at the UFC 200 post-fight dais with a hood over her head and holding a towel over her busted nose. She said her goal was to get the fight a little beyond where it ended up.
"It's a long road, but I think that's kind of my personality, I'm kind of a juggernaut when it comes to this sport," she said. "One fight doesn't make or break me. I'm obviously disappointed with what I did tonight. I know Amanda was a fast starter, and I played with fire a little bit too much. But you know, she caught me, and I wasn't able to recover. And I was hoping to drag this fight to a little bit later.
"Like I said, I knew she was dangerous in the first round, but with that being said, it's always going to be a learning experience, and I just want to thank everybody who stays by my side, win or lose. Thank you."
The 29-year old Tate (18-6), who defeated Holm back in March via a rear-naked choke as well in the fifth round, has had a propensity to start a little slow against her opponents. Still, since losing to Rousey at UFC 168, she had rattled off five straight wins en-route to her title bout with Holm.
When asked if training as a favorite coming into the fight played a role, rather than in the underdog role that she has flourished in, Tate said she didn't think that was the case.
"I don't think it affected me inside the cage," she said. "I trained very hard for this fight, I just got caught. She she me with a really solid right hand and this is what I'm talking about.
"This is what I've been telling everybody is that Amanda is very worthy to be here. She's very dangerous, particularly in that first round. And maybe if we get a chance to do it again it can be different. But tonight it what it is. It's not about me tonight, it's about Amanda. She did what she came to do and I have the utmost respect for her, and I just hope that some day I get a chance to fight her again. If she would give me that opportunity I would be grateful."
As for her nose, Tate said she was pretty sure what was going on with it.
"I'm sure it's broken, I don't know for sure but I've had broken noses before, so I think it's broken. It's still bleeding."
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