Miesha Tate is back and better than ever.
After calling it a career nearly five years ago, the former bantamweight champion returned with a punishing performance to stop Marion Reneau at 1:53 the third round in the UFC Vegas 31 co-main event. Tate didn’t look like she skipped a beat in her time away as she showcased strong striking and a dominant ground game en route to the TKO stoppage.
Now that she’s back with a win, Tate is already looking ahead towards title contention.
“I’m back,” Tate said afterwards. “I’m so happy. This has been a lot of hard work. I’m here and I’m back. With all due respect, I’m not here just for a fight, I’m here for a belt.”
There didn’t appear to be any ring rust for Tate as the former champion was confident in her hands while engaging in exchanges with Reneau on the feet. While both fighters were able to connect with some solid shots, Tate eventually turned to her grappling as she looked for a takedown and then began grinding on Reneau from the clinch against the cage.
Tate closed out the first round with a well-timed takedown as she began putting pressure on Reneau from the top while looking to set up her ground and pound as well as her overall grappling game.
While Reneau was able to connect with some solid punches once she was back on her feet in the second round, Tate was matching her strike for strike before then powering forward with another takedown.
Tate was suffocating with her ground control, hammering away with punches and elbows including one shot that saw blood begin pouring out of Reneau’s nose.
With five minutes remaining, Tate blasted Reneau with a stiff left hand right down the middle at the start of the third round that led to another takedown against the cage. From there, Tate looked like she was going to take the back for a submission but instead she just started raining down punches from the top.
Trapped against the cage, Reneau had nowhere to go as she just covered up and the referee had no choice but to stop the contest with Tate earning her first victory since winning the UFC title back in 2016.
While Tate will now move forward with her career, Reneau had already announced that Saturday night would serve as her retirement fight and she went out graciously regardless of the defeat.
“I’m glad I went out the way I did,” Reneau said. “To be able to fight her, I did give it all I had. That’s it. That’s what’s left for me. I’m saying goodbye.”