Miesha Tate Retires: 4 Reasons Why Cupcake Isn’t Done Yet
The UFC has lost another living legend.
Immediately following her UFC 205 loss to Raquel Pennington, women’s trailblazer Miesha Tate informed Joe Rogan and the rest of the MMA community inside the Octagon that she would be calling it a career.
The one known as Cupcake didn’t give away the possibility of retirement leading into the match, but seemed to be influenced a great deal by her most recent loss:
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 13, 2016
Tate suggested it isn’t “her time” anymore and that had she won on Saturday, she may have continued her impressive career.
For the moment, it looks like Cupcake is done. However, such an abrupt retirement right after a loss suggests her decision could be more emotional and “in the moment” that well-though or planned out.
That surely is what most of the UFC realm will hope, but Miesha Tate just yet. Here’s 4 reasons why she just might fight in the UFC again:
A lot of UFC fighters bow out right around age 30, but it still feels like there is more to Miesha Tate’s UFC story that needs to be told.
It seems her career did come full circle when she finally claimed the women’s Bantamweight title over Holly Holm this year, but her reign was short-lived, with her first title defense ending in a knockout loss to current champion, Amanda Nunes.
Cupcake is tired and worn down right now, but in a matter of months, she could get her energy and drive back and want one more go around at the title. Some would suggest there isn’t any “unfinished business” left for Tate and that at 30, now is the right time to “pass the torch”, but perhaps to Tate, winning the title belt one last time could allow her to truly exit the MMA arena on top.
Tate vs. Rousey III
If Tate’s return and final exit can result in a title match with Ronda Rousey, all the better.
Her recent loss to Raquel Pennington naturally dropped Tate down the rankings and she likely could see what lied ahead: more hard work just to get back to having a mere shot at the belt.
That probably looked daunting to Tate at first glance, but even if she’s not up to the challenge of grinding all year long, perhaps she’ll return for one last showdown with her arch rival, Ronda Rousey.
Rousey herself has suggested she’s quickly approaching the end of her UFC career, so with both women on the outs of the MMA scene, it’s not crazy to think they get together for one last send-off fight.
Rousey took Tate out twice before, but a third fight could complete the trilogy and could potentially allow Tate to exorcise one of her MMA demons.
No More Gate Keeper
One of the big negatives for Tate – and quite possibly the deciding factor that lead to her abrupt retirement – is the idea that she’s more of a gate keeper than a regular title threat.
Tate said as much about herself just before taking down Holly Holm for the title. Her take was that the UFC saw her role as more of an elite fighter that tested out the top contenders, i.e., if they could take down Tate, they earned the right to fight for the belt. If not, they dropped lower in the ranks.
Having earned the title and lost it in the blink of an eye, it’s quite likely Tate saw the writing on the wall – that she was back to being gate keeper for the women’s Bantamweight UFC title.
Instead of Tate getting another crack at getting the belt back from Amanda Nunes at, say UFC 205 or UFC 206, she had to face Raquel Pennington and hear about Nunes waiting until UFC 207 in December to defend her freshly minted title against the returning Rousey.
This wasn’t the first time Tate had been burned, either. Having it done twice, well, slaps in the face don’t get a whole lot bigger than that.
Had Tate defeated Pennington, her mindset and perspective could be different. Her standing wouldn’t have taken a negative shift and she likely would have remained a top contender with another shot at the title. However, with the loss, Tate has to know that Pennington might be moving up and that her time is slowly passing.
It doesn’t have to be that way, of course. If the UFC wants to keep Tate around for another year or two, they could go out of their way to give her a shot at Rousey or Nunes for the title – depending on who wins.
Prisoner of the Moment
The fourth big reason Miesha Tate isn’t done in the UFC just yet is that she’s very possibly simply a prisoner of the moment.
She might feel like the writing is on the wall that the UFC isn’t really in her corner, that this latest lost buries her a bit and that a title shot might be too far away.
There are health and skill concerns at the age of 30 and Tate may have other things she wants to do in her life, but making such a huge decision immediately after a loss hinges greatly on emotion.
The fact that Tate admitted the result of her UFC 205 match had something to do with her retirement says it all. Perhaps she was dead set, one way or the other, on her retirement depending on the outcome of her fight with Raquel Pennington.
Even so, this is a rash decision and it’s one that a 30-year old Tate will ponder for the next several months. Once she’s removed from the hysteria of a loss and can focus on what she wants in life, she may realize that she still has something to give to the sport of mixed martial arts.
If so, we just might see Miesha Tate again, and for her sake, hopefully it’s in the Octagon with one more shot at the women’s Bantamweight title.
If not, at least we got a great fighter while she was here, as Miesha Tate exits (for now) with an impressive 18-7 record.
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