Ever since returning to active competition in 2021, Miesha Tate has made a concerted effort to focus on her career and each step she makes in the second tenure of her UFC career, and now she’s dealing with a dilemma of her immediate future. The former UFC women’s bantamweight champion returned in July of last year to face Marion Reneau in her retirement fight, a fight that Tate would win by third-round TKO.
Following her successful return, Miesha Tate would turn around for one more fight on the year but she came up short against Ketlen Vieira in their main event fight back in November, losing by unanimous decision, yet with her spirits high following the event. The trajectory of Tate’s second run in the promotion took somewhat of a unique twist at the end of 2021 when her good friend and former teammate Julianna Peña upset Amanda Nunes and became the new bantamweight champion at UFC 269.
With Peña now the new champion, Tate has a decision in front of her that she’s now referring to as a dilemma. That dilemma, as the former champion explains, is if she should remain in the bantamweight division and continue her rise in the division, or drop down to flyweight in hopes of letting her friend rule at 135, while she takes aim at the 125-pound division.
Taking to her personal YouTube channel this week, Miesha Tate discussed the dilemma of deciding between bantamweight and flyweight, while asking fans to provide their input and thoughts as well.
“So, I am currently stuck in a very heavy debate with myself on whether to stay at 135 pounds or go down to 125 pounds? Couple of thought processes on this. I have made my entire career at 135 pounds minus a couple times fighting at 145, just due to lack of competiton and I always assumed that  that was my weight class because there never was a 125 opportunity. Now as I sit back in the second part of my career, I’m thinking ‘Hmm, should I go down?'”
Tate would then go on to outline the pros and cons of being in either the flyweight or bantamweight division, and when it comes to the 135-pound division, she noted that Peña’s recent title victory does play a factor in her decision.
“The things that factor into that for me, Julianna just became champion at 135 pounds. I’m very excited for her, but we’ve been good friends for a long time, we grew up in the sport together and preferably I don’t want to have to fight her if I can be completely honest. I would prefer that we can both be champions.”
Although her friendship with the newly-crowned champion is one reason why she’s open to departing the division, Miesha Tate would go on to say that she would not like to leave the division as she’s coming off a loss.
“The reason I don’t really like the idea of leaving the bantamweight division is because I’m coming off a loss, a fight that I felt I could’ve won, should’ve won, but I failed to excute a better game plan and ended up losing the decision. So I know that I need to make those improvements and it really bothers me the idea of leaving a division on a loss.”
As she started to list the reasons for potentially dropping down to the flyweight division, Tate listed some of the physical advantages she feels she could have if she were to move down a weight class.
“However, height and reach never been an advantage for me at 135 pounds. So when I look at moving down to 125, maybe the first time in my career when I would actually have those physical advantages. I also think the 125-pound division could use some spicing up. I look at the top four women and they’ve all already fought for a title. So, there’s Julie [Peña] as champion at bantamweight and Valentina Shevchenko at flyweight, who I am a big fan of, she’s damn near perfect but I love the idea of fighting her as well.”
Looking back at her UFC 196 performance where she won bantamweight gold against Holly Holm, Tate broke down exactly why she feels her wrestling and skillset could play a big factor in getting a win over Shevchenko.
“I know I have the ability to make things chaotic, when I fought Holly Holm I made it a little bit more of a mess, a little bit more chaos in there than maybe those clean strikers would like to deal with. I know that my wrestling can be somewhat of an impostion for those primary strikers. I look at that with a lot of intrigue.”
In looking at both sides of staying at bantamweight or joining flyweight, Miesha Tate would end by saying while there’s unfinished business at 135 pounds, she feels she’s at a crossroads at this stage of her second run in the UFC and didn’t mind hearing thoughts from fans on where she should fight.
“I look at 135 and I say I still feel like there’s still unfinished business there, I’d like to work my way up, we don’t know how this division is going to continue to work itself out, so it’s a dilemma. Obviously there’s going to be a lot more if I was truly going to consider going down to flyweight. But, here I am contemplating that. I’m no stranger to hard work. I’m at a bit of a crossroad if you guys care to weigh-in on the situation, leave your comments below.”
It’ll be interesting to see what fans think Miesha Tate should do for the next step in her UFC tenure, but no matter where she decides to compete next, there’s no shortage of opponents who would be willing to test themselves against the former world champion.
You can watch the full video of Tate discussing her dilemma below:
Mike Pendleton is a current contributor to MyMMANews while also hosting his “On The Mic” podcast and is a former Associate Producer at Sirius XM’s Fight Nation.
With a special passion for interviewing and talking to the very best around the fight game, you can read or listen to Mike’s work across his multiple outlets.
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