Yesterday, news broke that Miesha Tate would be making her return to competition this summer when she faces Marion Reneau on July 17, and the former bantamweight champion is looking to recapture gold.
Tate retired from MMA in 2016 after losing a unanimous decision to Raquel Pennington at UFC 205, one fight removed from losing her belt to current champion Amanda Nunes. At only 30 years old, Tate’s exit from the sport was surprising though Tate had consistently denied an interest in returning to competition, the former champion never closed the door on a possible return. Now, Tate says it feels like the time is right for her return.
“I’m so excited, I really am. There is a fire that has been lit,” Tate said on her SiriusXM show. “My heart is completely full of passion. I feel like I’m totally reinvigorated. When you know, you know, and I just know. I’ve always been that person to lead with my heart and do what I feel like my calling is in life and it’s never steered me wrong. I’ve been a person that can change direction very quickly and not be afraid to do it. I dive right in if I feel like it’s right and that’s what I’m here to do.
“The sport, it’s been calling for me. Like, let’s not like about that. I feel like it’s been calling me and now it’s time to answer.”
Since retiring in 2016, Tate has been keeping busy. She’s had two children, joined ONE Championship as a Vice President, and moved to Singapore. However, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in Tate moving back to the United States where she says she is once again training at Xtreme Couture. When the decision to return was made, Tate says the UFC offered her Reneau and that’s how the fight came about.
“It was what the UFC said was available and I thought, ‘That’s fine with me,’” Tate explained. “It’s been four years since I’ve fought. I think that Marion Reneau, she’s solid in every area. She has that triangle choke of Sara McMann. She’s dangerous from the bottom, she can strike well and it’s her retirement fight. So I guess when they asked her about it, she was very excited...
“I think Marion Reneau is great and when you know it’s your last fight, there’s gonna be a lot of fire in there, a lot of passion because she’s obviously gonna want to go out on a win. She’s gonna put everything she has left in the gas tank because she’s not saving herself for the next fight. This is the tip of the hat, this is the final countdown for her, so I know she’s really gonna bring it. And for me I’ve got a lot to prove. I’ve got to shake of the five years and go out there and have a great performance and win and set off this second part of my career.”
And Tate is not planning on being an also-ran during her comeback. The former champion is still only 34 years old and says she’s coming back with her eyes on the belt, especially if that means she can get a crack at the woman who took the belt from her.
“I’ve got six fights on the contract, I’ve got two years that I know for sure I want to dedicate to this sport,” Tate said. “But look, anything can happen off of one fight. I’ll be honest, I really don’t know exactly what to expect. That’s what’s so exciting for me... But I can tell you, for the next two years, that’s my plan, to be heavily involved in the sport. Obviously, I want to become a champion again...
“I’d love to run that one back. I would love to fight (Amanda Nunes) again because I know I have the style to beat her. I’m not at all gonna take anything away from her. She’s a scary woman and she hits like a man. I know that. I’ve been in there with her and I’ve seen what she’s done since then. But I know I have the style to beat her.”
Though Tate will be competing in the UFC, according to ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong, Tate remains “a part of the ONE Family” and he showed full support for her return to competition.
Return. Former bantamweight champion Miesha Tate is back, faces Marion Reneau at July 17 UFC event.
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