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By: Brad Walker, MMATorch Columnist
I got some time to speak with UFC title contender and former Strikeforce champion Miesha "Cupcake" Tate this afternoon, here is our conversation:
Brad Walker: Alright, so first things first thanks for being my first repeat interview subject, I appreciate the time. You've finished filming the first season of the Ultimate Fighter to feature female coaches and fighters - how does it feel to be a huge part of something so forwardly progressive for women's MMA?
Miesha Tate: It feels amazing, I couldn't feel more honored to be a part of something so historical.
Walker: Obviously your opposing coach is Ronda Rousey - who is not someone you seem to like much - does that dislike build during the course of the show?
Tate: Surprisingly I think the constant exposure to Ronda made it easier to see through her and laugh off the insults rather than feeding into them. I used to hate Ronda Rousey, but I don't anymore, I actually appreciate having her as a rival and I wouldn't want to change it.
Walker: Last time we spoke you had just won the Strikeforce belt, and were ready to defend against Ronda, now you're about to take part in your first UFC title bout, how does it feel to have come so far in so little time?
Tate: It's pretty unbelievable; sometimes when I sit back and really look at where I started and where I am now it blows my mind! But goes to show what can happen when you're not afraid to follow your heart
Walker: What was your feeling when you first found out you were UFC bound?
Tate: I was really really happy, it was rewarding because so many people told me it would never happen, including Dana White himself.
Walker: Dana White is a pretty imposing figure, perhaps the most powerful man in MMA, how is it having him as a boss?
Tate: Dude he is the coolest boss I've ever had, no matter how busy he is - and he is a busy man - he keeps it real all the time, he is so down to earth and he will never promise something and not do it. The thing I love about the UFC to is they really go above and beyond with things like fighter bonuses and things; like I just got a brand new pimped out super charged custom Range Rover for coaching TUF, I mean how cool is that? They don't have to do things like that, but it's their way of showing appreciation for the fighters, not all bosses appreciate their employees.
Walker: As of yesterday, UFC's largest rival Bellator opted to drop its women's division entirely, what are your thoughts on that?
Tate: I think Bellator never did right by their women's division, when they put their female Champion on the undercard in her hometown it was clear to me how little they valued their female fighters. I'm glad they let the girls go, they didn't deserve them, those gals are amazing and Bellator is not, and that was Zoila Gurgel I was referring to.
Walker: What do you feel you need to do in your rematch to get that UFC belt around your waste for the first time?
Tate: There's a lot I have to be able to do effectively to beat Ronda Rousey and I know it will be a big challenge; but I know in my heart I am capable of beating Ronda. Stopping the arm bar won't be enough to become the UFC Champion, I know that, so I'm working every angle
Walker: Would you still say as before that her striking game is unlikely to be a big part of your rematch?
Tate: I think Ronda likes to believe her striking is something special. She might look better on the mitts than when she first began MMA but she's still so afraid to get hit, it's clear with how desperate she bull rushes for takedowns she wants no part of the standup game. She won't want to stand with me.
Walker: You were just included in the ESPN the magazine body issue, was it nerve wrecking to pose nude for such a large publication?
Walker: Your last bout ended with a controversial stoppage against Cat Zingano, is that a fight you look forward to being able to make happen again?
Tate: Absolutely, I'm really pumped for that rematch
Walker: Coming up on Sunday is your birthday - you're still young in terms of the sport, so let me wish you a happy birthday and ask how long we can expect to see you continue to fight?
Tate: Thanks! I plan on getting better with age like wine or something like that (laughs).
Walker: You've been with Bryan Caraway for a long time now, do you two feel that your occupations make the possibility of having a family more difficult?
Tate: My job definitely doesn't support being pregnant (laughs) but neither do I right now, so I'm totally ok with that. I'm in no hurry to have kids, I'm actually undecided if I even want kids at this point.
Walker: Ronda Rousey has taken a lot of time to attack your boyfriend verbally - do you think that is just a part of her gameplan to get inside your head?
Tate: I think she gets a lot of attention for doing it and she's somewhat of an attention whore so she continues bashing and berating him. He's apologized publicly for the one and only time Ronda could have taken personal offense to what he said, it was well over a year ago, so at this point she's become quite a bully.
Walker: Final question. Do you feel stepping into that cage in December is the true beginning of the next evolution in your career?
Tate: I choose to believe so, remember as a fan of the sport it's all to easy to sit back and criticize my fighting abilities but its different when you're the one in there. Regardless of the majority of people telling me I can not ever defeat Ronda, I believe otherwise, I welcome the challenge & I believe in myself
Walker: Thanks again for your time Miesha, I truly appreciate it, and have a happy birthday this weekend!
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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