Miesha Tate sees both sides of the controversy over the UFC women’s featherweight title.
Inaugural 145-pound champ Germaine de Randamie balked at defending her belt against former Strikeforce and Invicta champ Cris Cyborg, so de Randamie was stripped of the belt by the UFC before she ever made her first title defense.
That means the Holland native will sit on the sidelines for the biggest UFC card so far in 2017, UFC 214, where Cyborg will meet Invicta bantamweight champ Tonya Evinger as part of a title-fight triple bill in Anaheim on July 29.
Appearing on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Tate, the retired former UFC women’s bantamweight champ, says that if it was her call, she’d absolutely step in the cage with Cyborg.
“I mean, what do you really have to lose when you fight someone like Cyborg, of her stature?” Tate asked. “If you beat Cyborg, you’re on another level of respect. And if you lose, it’s like, well so has everybody. So, my opinion of it is, as a fighter, just from a fighter standpoint I think it would be an awesome thing to be able to fight Cyborg.”
But of course, conversations about Cyborg come with an asterisk. There was the steroids suspension following a December 2011 fight in San Diego, and the most recent controversy, where Cyborg was provisionally suspended before being granted a retroactive exemption for a banned substance. And if de Randamie doesn’t want to fight someone with that sort of history, Tate doesn’t feel it’s her place to judge.
“I do respect and understand what Germaine is saying,” Tate said. “And I don’t think she’s scared of Cyborg. She’s a fighter. She’s been kickboxing forever. She’s one of the baddest women on the planet.
“[De Randamie’s] point she’s trying to make is, she doesn’t believe it’s fair,” Tate later added, “and that, I cannot disagree. I don’t disagree with what she’s saying.”