Miesha Theresa Tate ( born August 18, 1986) is an American mixed martial arts pundit and former mixed martial artist.
She competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and is a former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Primarily known for her grappling ability, Tate became a wrestler while attending Franklin Pierce High School in Tacoma, Washington and won a state championship during her senior year in 2005. She began her professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career in 2007, and won the bantamweight championship of the Freestyle Cage Fighting promotion in 2009. Tate gained increased recognition in 2011, when she won the Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Championship. She has also won a silver medal in the FILA Grappling Championships.
Outside of MMA, Tate has modeled for numerous websites and publications, including ESPN The Magazine and Fitness Gurls. She is featured as a playable character in the video game EA Sports UFC. In 2015, Tate was announced as a cast member in the feature film Fight Valley. Her fighting style, which focused on wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, has earned praise from multiple peers and media outlets. Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White has credited Tate’s fight with Ronda Rousey on March 3, 2012 as the key factor in the creation of women’s divisions in the UFC.
Tate’s final victory in MMA came on March 5, 2016, when she won the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship after beating Holly Holm via technical submission. On July 9, 2016, she lost the UFC title to Amanda Nunes at UFC 200. In November 2016, she announced her retirement from MMA after a loss by decision to Raquel Pennington at UFC 205.
Post retirement, Tate has shown interest in competing in no-gi grappling matches, the first of which was against former MMA opponent Jessica Eye at Submission Underground 2, which Tate won in overtime. Tate has also signed a contract with Fox Sports, joining the UFC analytical desk for FS1. Tate was known for her extensive knowledge of ground-based arts, including wrestling, jiu-jitsu, and submission defense; her wrestling-heavy style lead to her first nickname, “Takedown”. In July 2011, Tate won the Strikeforce Bantamweight Championship by becoming the first woman to ever submit Marloes Coenen in an MMA bout. During her win at UFC 183, Tate out-grappled Olympic wrestling medalist Sara McMann. She is also noted for being the first fighter to escape Ronda Rousey’s armbar on multiple occasions. Following their first bout in March 2012, Rousey described Tate as “much more savvy on the ground than I anticipated.”
Tate was noted for her double-leg takedowns, usually performed by picking an opponent up while pressing them against the cage. From top position, she typically attacked from side control as opposed to mount; in a rear position, she would usually secure a body triangle and attack with strikes. Having won multiple titles in wrestling, Tate was well known for her power on the ground, which often allowed her to hold opponents in vulnerable positions. Tate has extensive training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. When attacking from her guard, she usually attempted an armbar or a triangle choke. She employed a variety of submissions while grappling with opponents, including heel hooks, guillotines, and kimura locks. During her fight against Julie Kedzie, she also used a triangle to transition to mount. Numerous media outlets, including Yahoo! and FoxSports.com, described her ground game as “powerful” and “dominant,” noting that Tate’s opponents were often overwhelmed if taken down. Julie Kedzie typically avoided going to the ground with Tate throughout the duration of their fight. During their bout at UFC 168, Ronda Rousey repeatedly blocked and reversed Tate’s takedown attempts.
While standing, Tate typically used left jabs, left hooks, a right cross, an overhand right, and knees from a clinch. Tate’s technique has earned the admiration of numerous peers. Following their bout in April 2013, Cat Zingano stated, “To be honest, I looked up to Miesha since I started this sport.” Rousey has described Tate as “an amazing fighter.”