At UFC on Fox 16, former Strikeforce bantamweight champion Miesha Tate steamrolled Jessica Eye to set up a third matchup between her and the reigning UFC bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey.
Her fight against Rousey would most likely round out the end of 2015 and is contingent upon the champion’s bout against the No. 7 contender Bethe Correia at UFC 190 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Correia is a heavy underdog against the champion, heading into her home country on August 1. However, if the 32-year-old is able to defeat the champion, a matchup between her and Tate would represent a more intriguing fight.
Tate has already lost to Rousey in two championship bouts. The 28-year-old’s losses occurred at Strikforce: Tate vs. Rousey and at UFC 168, respectively. Tate lost her Strikeforce title in her first matchup against Rousey and then failed to secure the UFC bantamweight championship in their most recent matchup. To exacerbate the situation, Rousey dominated and submitted Tate in each of their outings, making a third bout between them appear like a formality.
However, Tate is currently riding a four-fight win streak and is the only fighter to take Rousey out of the first round. According to UFC President Dana White, Tate’s win against Eye earned her another shot at the bantamweight title. At the UFC on Fox 16 post-fight press conference, the president was asked if the former Strikeforce champion was next in line for a title shot.
“She keeps coming forward to land what she has to land, or get you to the ground to do what she has to in order to win. She did it again, tonight. She’s worked her way back to Ronda Rousey.”
At the conference, Tate also expressed her excitement with reference to facing Rousey for the third time.
“I mean, a bigger goal for me would be a win over Ronda, but in the big picture, my biggest goal is getting gold. I want to say before I retire that I was the UFC world champion, so at the end of the day it doesn’t matter who has the belt. That’s the biggest goal.”
Rousey wishes to retire undefeated, and her last bouts in the UFC may be coming to a head. She has defeated four of the bantamweight division’s top-five athletes (the No. 5 contender, Eye, just lost to Tate) and six of the division’s top-10. By the end of 2015, Rousey will be presented with the opportunity to add Correia to the list and defeat Tate for a third time.
However, win or lose, at the post-fight press conference, Tate stated her disdain for the current champion and gave light to her intentions if they meet again.
“I love punching Ronda in the face.”