Miesha Tate has raised doubts about whether Cat Zingano, her opponent at The Ultimate Fighter 17 finale on Saturday is ready for the UFC in recent comments to The Bleacher Report.
For Tate, Zingano just doesn’t seem to do her interviews very well. “It’s definitely something I’ve thought about because she was noticeably nervous around all of the media when we did the appearance at UFC 157.”
Tate continued: “You could kind of tell she was awestruck by it all. She didn’t know what to make of it, it was all exciting, it was all new. She was kind of nervous and kind of stuttering in her interviews. She just didn’t seem as comfortable with the atmosphere, and I really feel that could be a huge advantage for me.”
Tate does have a point that the limelight can often distract a fighter from effective training. And to her credit, she did admit to not knowing if it would “make her fight any better or worse.”
“I don’t think she’s fought anyone in the top 10 at all at 135 [pounds]. She’s never fought on the big stage. I think it’s going to be a disadvantage. It’s going to be quite a shock for her,” Tate said.
During the interview, Miesha Tate rattled off the names of some of her opponents, and on the surface she does have a point — Sarah Kaufman, Marloes Coenen, Ronda Rousey — but there are problems with her argument.
For starters, Sarah Kaufman won their 2009 bout by unanimous decision. Since that time, Kaufman has fallen down the ranks of women fighters, losing to Coenen and Rousey, the latter of which in an easy, barely-break-a-sweat 54 seconds.
Secondly, it’s hard to say the Coenen victory came in the prime of the trailblazing bantamweight’s career. By the time Coenen faced Tate, she had fought for 11 years and seemingly lost a step.
And finally, when Tate fought Rousey, she didn’t appear to belong in the same cage as the first ever women’s champion.
Tate trash-talked Rousey every step of the way, doubted Rousey’s place in women’s MMA, claimed that she’d earned nothing, and then received a dislocated elbow in the first round for her troubles.
Tate can sell a fight with her mouth, and she can also say with honesty that she was a pioneer for women’s MMA, as she did in remarks to Bloody Elbow. But she’s underestimating the fact that the talent dam has broken on her sport.
From here, the competition is just going to get tougher as Rousey has already proven by all but ripping half of Tate’s arm off and handing it back to her.
With Invicta Fighting Championships on the rise — check the video below — and unbeaten talents like Cat Zingano coming up the ranks, Tate could find that it takes a little more than feeling comfortable in an interview to prove you’re championship material.
A victory against Zingano will announce to the world she’s still a viable candidate, but it’s hard to argue after that first fight that Tate is in the same class as the champion, and certainly not with Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos.
A repeat of the first Tate-Rousey fight isn’t particularly main event material when you look at probable outcome. Cyborg and Rousey, however? You bet.
The only interesting thing about a Tate victory over Zingano? The chance to see her bicker with Rousey during The Ultimate Fighter 18 as the winner will be coaching against the champ leading up to the eventual bout later this year.
Who would you like to see win at TUF 17: Miesha Tate or Cat Zingano?