The UFC Long Island main card opened with Murphy taking a commanding unanimous decision win against Tate to rebound from a championship loss to Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 266 in September 2021. Murphy out-struck and out-wrestled Tate, who made her debut at 125 pounds. Tate previously held the UFC bantamweight championship in 2016.
Murphy — the No. 6 flyweight in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings — was pleased with the victory, but stopped short of calling it the best of her career, especially since the result didn’t come as a surprise to her despite Tate’s notoriety.
“I think all the wins are satisfying in one way or another,” Murphy said speaking to the media backstage at UBS Arena in Elmont, N.Y. “No, I could sit here all day and talk about the cool experiences that I’ve had fighting and in the UFC. Even back in Alaska, one of my first fights was for the Alaska Fighting Championship championship, and honestly, I don’t know if any fight will ever top that one because it was one of my first big moments.
“This is up there. This is a great day. Those are some great moments. I’m very happy right now and I think part of it, too, is that I’m not — like, there’s been big victories that I’ve had where I’m almost in disbelief. Like, ‘I can’t believe I won that. That’s f****** amazing.’ Right now I feel like, ‘Yeah, I won that because I’m a badass. I’m a bad motherf*****.’ I have the ability to win fights like that and I feel like I’m right where I belong.”
That said, Murphy was well aware that Tate was vying for her own shot at Shevchenko. The oddsmakers favored Tate to beat Murphy and reach that goal, a narrative that Murphy didn’t worry about too much.
It’s a situation the 12-year veteran has found herself in on multiple occasions.
“My whole career has been like that,” Murphy said. “Every time I go into a big fight, I’m kind of counted out and I’m always the underdog. Yeah, I love that. I feel like that’s right where I fit.”
Murphy has now won six of her past seven fights, her lone loss during that stretch coming at the hands of Shevchenko. The champion controlled their title bout before finishing Murphy with strikes in the fourth round, and despite Murphy recently telling MMA Fighting that she was suffering from an illness heading into the fight, she still called it “the coolest f****** thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
A fresh outlook is a big reason why Murphy was able to bounce back from that loss and potentially right back into the mix for another championship fight.
“I learned so much,” Murphy said. “I learned a lot about confidence and so I really worked on changing the way that I talk to myself, changing the way that I think about myself, changing the way that I carry myself. Like I just said earlier, it’s not a surprise to me now that I could come out with a victory like this. It wasn’t an accident. I’m a very talented fighter. I always have been. I’m a great f****** athlete. I have phenomenal genetics.
“I’ve done amazing things in this sport that, when I really sit down and think about, I’m like, ‘Damn.’ I didn’t even start MMA until I was 26. I’d never played a sport before. I never played sports growing up in school. I was not an athlete. I smoked a pack a day. I took pills. I was a trainwreck of a human being and I walked into a jiu-jitsu gym one day, and four years later I was in the UFC fighting world title contenders and Olympians and women that had grown up fighting. Not only was I fighting them, but I was hanging with them, I was doing just fine. Then six years after that, I fought for the UFC world championship. That’s a f****** incredible story. That’s pretty f****** amazing.
“I’ve actually won the title for every promotion I’ve ever been signed to. Did you know that? I’ve won the f****** title for every promotion I’ve ever been signed to. I’ve done very, very well in the UFC. I’ve changed my life. I’ve changed my family’s life. Did any of you all see that coming? Because nobody around me saw that coming. It took me a while, but I was like, I really do deserve some of the shine that I’ve been trying to give myself this whole time. I’ve done some pretty incredible f****** things.”