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By: Brad Walker, MMATorch Contributor
New MMATorch Contributor Brad Walker had the chance this week to talk to Strikeforce Women's 135 lb. Champion Miesha Tate in an email interview. Here is their conversation below:
BRAD WALKER: First of all Miesha let me thank you for taking some time to answers these questions for me - its greatly appreciated.
So what initially drew you to MMA? Was it a specific fight or fighter?
MIESHA TATE: I stumbled across MMA during my freshman year of college after wrestling in high school on the boys team. I was looking for a sport that would give me the same fulfillment and I found that in MMA, which is also where I met long time friend Tommy Truex & current boyfriend Bryan Caraway as they had begun teaching MMA at the college.
WALKER: What was the biggest hurdle for you to get over on your path to becoming a professional fighter?
TATE: There were many hurdles but maybe one of the biggest was gaining acceptance as a female competing in a sport widely viewed as a male sport only. It's been a long road but I feel WMMA is still gaining momentum and we are changing opinions and opening minds everyday
WALKER: When you wrestled for the boys team in high-school was there any animosity from the guys?
TATE: At first I believe so; I know they all tried to get me to quit, feeling "this was no place for a girl." They made the practices extra tough & put me against the best wrestlers to try and wear me out, but that was where I found my groove & I stuck with it all four years going on to win the women's state championship my senior year & the coaches award as well.
WALKER: Moving forward, have you ever wanted a rematch to avenge your first career loss to Kaitlin Young?
TATE: Absolutely, to be honest I feel it was a fluke! It was both our second fights in a row that night, although I had a much tougher match in the experienced Jan Finney then Kaitlin did in newcomer Suzi Smith. Anytime you fight in a tournament style of fighting a lot of variables take place. I don't believe I would lose to her now if those variables were taken out of the equation.
WALKER: The future has a couple of possible matches for you at 135lbs, who is the more entertaining matchup for you, Sarah Kaufman or Ronda Rousey, and why?
TATE: That's a tough one. I think they both have the potential to be highly entertaining, but I'm always a fan of the grappling and I believe more of that would be seen against Ronda Rousey so I guess if I had to pick I would go with that one for entertainment.
WALKER: Do you expect to remain a bantamweight for your entire career or would you eventually be interested in fighting the likes of Gina Carano and Cris Cyborg?
TATE: If anything I would be more likely to consider going down. I average between 142-146lbs which to me isn't huge for 135 & very small for 145lbs when Gina has been said to average about 165 lbs and Cris Cyborg 175lbs. If those girls can make 145 I should be fine making 125 lb/ weight class. My only reason for not dropping is that I love Strkeforce & they don't have a 125lb division in the organization, so I will most likely stay holding my own at 135 lbs.
WALKER: Which asset in your arsenal is your target focus in training prior to a fight?
TATE: I train all dynamics of MMA but I focus on different game plans depending on who I'm fighting and where I feel I may need to strengthen my weaknesses.
WALKER: You're currently 12-2, and you're only 25 years old, how long do you plan to fight for?
TATE: I'd say another five years or so but who knows. Time goes by so fast, in five years I may not be ready to hang up the gloves!
WALKER: When you put your hands on your new title for the first time, what was your first thought?
TATE: IT'S FINALLY MINE!! I worked so hard for that belt it felt nice to finally have it in my hands.
WALKER: Stepping back for a moment, Gina Carano has seen some relatively large mainstream success outside of MMA, have you considered following a similar path between fights?
TATE: I have actually, I would consider doing more outside MMA, but definitely no two+ year hiatus!
WALKER: Who is your favorite MMA fighter to watch? And why?
TATE: Megumi Fujii & Gilbert Melendez. Megumi because she's just an animal at 25-1 with her only loss being highly contested. She's just amazing, her skill set is incredible. Gilbert because he fights with so much passion and love for the sport. He never second guesses himself & fights with so much confidence, I really enjoy watching him he's a badass!
WALKER: In your loss to Sarah Kaufman, what do you feel was the main reason she was able to one up you that night?
TATE: I really think it was me not her, I was a little intimidated at the time & I questioned my ability, which is a huge mistake that I knew after that fight I would never make again! I found confidence after that I knew I could hang with the best and beat the best & I will never again question that.
WALKER: What gets you pumped up right before a fight?
TATE: I just like to relax and enjoy the moment, it's a very exhilarating feeling and I love to seize it for all it's worth
WALKER: Do you believe you'll someday be wearing a belt that says UFC?
TATE: I do believe that. I think the women's division is very popular & I think the UFC knows it! It may take a long time but I will never stop believing!!
WALKER: Whats the best way for any aspiring girls out there to break into MMA?
TATE: I suggest starting wrestling as young as possible, it's a great base to have for MMA.
WALKER: One last question, for the critics out there who believe women's MMA is less acceptable just because of gender double-standards, what do you say?
TATE: MMA is a sport, no different than volleyball or swimming or soccer. If men can do it women can, too, and if we choose to do it support our decision. Opinion makes the world interesting, but America is about the freedom of choice and that we should all stand for.
WALKER: Thanks again so much for your time Miesha and best of luck in the future!
TATE: Thank you!
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