Muscle & Fitness Hers

UFC Bantamweight Champion Miesha Tate Talks Choke Holds, Rousey and What's Next

Veteran MMA fighter Tate defeated Holly Holm at UFC 196 to become the Bantamweight Champion. Here's our exclusive interview with the champ.

New UFC Bantamweight Champion Miesha Tate Talks Choke Holds, Rousey, and What's Next

On Saturday, 29-year-old UFC Fighter Miesha Tate was named the new Bantamweight champion when she defeated Holly Holm with a fifth-round rear-naked choke hold. Though the former bantamweight champ Holm won three of the first four rounds, she went unconscious when Tate was holding her from behind on the ground. Here, Tate talked to Muscle & Fitness Hers about how she's feeling, seizing the perfect opportunity during this fight, and wondering what Ronda Rousey is thinking right now:

Congrats! You’re on top of the world right now.

I’m trying to live in the moment. My family and friends are saying I should enjoy this moment, soak it in. I’ve been staring at the belt a lot. It’s in my room. I’ve put it on a few more times.

What were you thinking going into that last round?

I had to look for the perfect opportunity. I was fighting the clock and it was like I was running out of time. When I saw that moment of opportunity, her neck was open and she was trying to get up. We planned for that, we knew she was going to leave things open and risk that in order to stand up.  My ground game is more well rounded than Holly’s. She was either going to have to stay under me and get beat up…or force her way up and leave something open. Once the choke hold was locked in there, it was fight ending. I didn’t think about whether she’d tap out or not, but I think it’s cool and admirable that she didn’t tap.

What was going through your head when they announced your name as the champ and put the belt on you?

It was almost hard to realize that was the real moment if that makes sense. I imagine this for myself as vividly as I could have imagined it. So I kind of thought this was a vivid realization. It was hard to wrap my mind around it, but I was feeling hugs and love and having the heavy belt around my waist  and it was exhilarating.

On your Facebook page you thanked Holm for stepping into the cage with you. Did you talk to her since the fight?

This is still so Crazy to me, I keep feeling like I'm going to wake up and it will all be a dream I still have yet to...

Posted by Miesha Tate on Monday, March 7, 2016

I don’t have her personal cell phone number but I did want to reach out in some way so I made that post. I respect that woman. I wanted to give her words of encouragement. If there’s anyone who would be better for a loss, it’s Holly. She has a championship mindset and heart. My hat’s off to her and I want her to know that I think highly of her.

"You told TMZ you don't want to wait to fight [Rousey] since you have unlimited energy and November is far away, is there anyone besides Holly Holm you think deserves a shot at the title?"

I’m undecided about what I should do. I should talk to the UFC and my management. I want to be active as a fighter…if this is what is next for me. If I have the opportunity to fight someone else…then that’s an option. I’m still trying to enjoy this moment. My family is saying, ‘Don’t look ahead too much, relax.’ I’m staying ready and will be ready. I’m already back in the gym. I’m still getting over this fight.

If you do face Rousey again, what will be different? How will you avoid another submission?

I think my striking is much more developed and the world can attest to that from Saturday’s performance. I’ve never moved like that before. I was throwing punches straight down the middle and stood there for four-and-a-half rounds on Saturday. Striking is Ronda’s biggest weakness. She doesn’t do well with getting hit in the face hard.

Will you train differently for Rousey this time?

Different? No. I’ll do the same thing as far as who I’m working with and scheduling, but the game plan would be different. I’ll have different partners to [spar with] but the same strength and conditioning. I’ll do everything I need to in order to be a good athlete. It’s about being the best version of yourself. I know exactly what I’m getting into [with Ronda]. I wonder what her mentality is. It doesn’t seem like she’s very motivated. Ronda likes things to go how she wants…and now that they haven’t been going as she wants…it makes me wonder if she wants to be a part of the sport anymore. She’s sitting back and making movies.

Being undefeated and winning is great and awesome and the world loves you and then you lose and I can only imagine how difficult that is. When I lost against Ronda it was crushing.  I don’t know if Ronda is willing to put that work in. Now she’s going to be more pissed off that I won.

What's next for you?

I’m heading to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to see one of my best friends first, then Brisbane, Australia, for the UFC event there, and then I’m going on a world media tour with the UFC after that.

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