For some, Miesha Tate’s retirement seemed like a bolt from the blue. A fighter who had worked her way out of being the perennial bridesmaid to Ronda Rousey in the UFC’s bantamweight division, Tate reached a point many thought would never come. She became a UFC champion.
But, just four months after winning the belt, she lost it, decisively. Amanda Nunes needed just 3:16 to take the title and send Tate back to contender status. Tate returned against Raquel Pennington in November of 2016, and lost again. And that was it. From champion to ex-fighter in the span of a few months.
“I didn’t see the Miesha Tate thing coming,” UFC president Dana White admitted shortly after Tate announced her retirement in the cage at UFC 205.
She had threatened something similar before, back in 2015, when the UFC gave Holly Holm the next shot at Ronda Rousey instead of making Tate vs. Rousey III. But, in 2016, so soon after becoming champ, it still felt like a surprise. And a move that some thought may not last.
Many fighters do come back, and even those that don’t often talk about how much they miss the sport once they step away from it. But, Tate doesn’t seem to be singing that tune. In a recent interview with MMA Junkie Radio, she opened up about just how retirement is going and how a return to the cage feels pretty unlikely (transcript via MMA Fighting).
“At this point, it’s not even on the radar, so I can’t say that will probably happen, because I don’t think that it will.”
“I’m really happy in the retirement, honestly. I’ve just been really enjoying myself and figuring out a little bit more about who I am beyond Miesha the fighter. It’s been a very interesting process, so I’m really enjoying that. I don’t have any plans to come back, or even any desire to.
“So unless that drastically changes, I don’t see myself going back in there. It’s an all-or-none sport. It’s got to be 110 percent, or not at all for me. So unless something makes me want to get back in there like a crazy person, I won’t be.”
Tate did admit that if she ever did come back it almost certainly wouldn’t be at bantamweight again. “I honestly would be more inclined to come back at 145 even though I’d be really small for that division, but I’m just over the whole weight cutting thing,” she explained.
Of course, the UFC does have a featherweight division about to open up. And the woman Tate beat to get the bantamweight title is set to fight for the featherweight belt. Would the chance of another UFC championship be enough to lure Tate back to the Octagon? Maybe, but given her stance at the moment, it doesn’t seem likely.
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