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Miesha Tate says 'mentality' is a 'big weakness' for Amanda Nunes

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- Miesha Tate's biggest asset might be her iron will. She's the kind of fighter who lets her arm nearly snap before tapping. The kind of warrior who comes back in a title fight despite being down on the cards and finishes in the final round.

The UFC women's bantamweight champion does not see the same grit and determination in Amanda Nunes, her UFC 200 opponent.

"She's never faced anyone like me," Tate said Monday at a UFC media lunch. "I also think her mentality, her mental, that's a big weakness, honestly."

Nunes (12-4), who challenges Tate on the July 9 megacard in Las Vegas, is a special talent. There's no denying that. She has won three straight, two of them by finish, and has only lost to Cat Zingano in the UFC.

That bout against Zingano was one she was winning until the second round. The book on Nunes, 28, is that she's a strong starter, but fades after the first few minutes. Critics have pointed to her cardio. Tate thinks it's something upstairs instead.

"I don't think that Amanda really likes to get hit," Tate said. "I think she thinks she likes to get it, but I don't think she does. I think she likes to be delivering. And if she's winning, it's great. But when she's not, when she's put in that spot of adversity, she tends to break. I don't even know if it's so much a question of cardio as it is like, how bad does she really want it? So I think there will come a point in the fight where that becomes a question in her mind and it won't be a question in my mind. Wherever we are -- whether we're on the feet or on the ground -- I'm just gonna take it to her."

Tate (18-5) rallied to victory against Holly Holm to win the title at UFC 196 in March. She's the only UFC challenger to ever come back to finish in the final round after being down on the cards. "Cupcake," though, doesn't plan on waiting Nunes to peter out before kicking it into gear.

"I know that's a tendency in the past of hers," Tate said. "It seems that she definitely hits a wall in fights, but I think it would be a really piss poor game plan to just count on someone getting tired. Honestly. So I have to assume that she's making changes, she's making those proper adjustments, she's adding things that she needs to her camp to get her conditioning and cardio where it needs to be."

Tate does believe Nunes is a worthy opponent, though many felt Holm should have gotten an immediate rematch. Tate is a big believer in the Brazilian's ample skill set -- she's hard-hitting and athletic with a solid ground game to boot.

That all being said, Tate doesn't plan on letting her new, shiny belt go any time soon. Which means she plans on shutting Nunes down with her superior wrestling -- and whatever else.

"I wouldn't put it past me to stand and bang with Amanda, too," Tate said. "I've been getting much more confident on my feet and I don't feel like I need to take this fight to the ground. I think what my goal is in this fight is to break her. That's it. No matter how."

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