The UFC women’s divisions can’t seem to step out of the long shadow cast by former champion gone Hollywood Ronda Rousey. On March 5, Holly Holm the Rousey killer makes her first return to the cage since kicking Ronda in the face and taking her belt. But the fight hasn’t gained much traction with fans or media. Her opponent Miesha Tate understands … she wants to know how the Holm vs. Rousey story plays out, too.
“I’m interested to see the rematch, as well,” Miesha told USA Today. “I thought the first fight was fascinating, and I’m curious to see what adjustments would be made on Ronda’s side, if any, and if Holly can do it again.”
But the scrappy wrestler isn’t going to let that interest get in the way of her plans to spoil everything. Ronda Rousey recently spoke to TMZ Sports, and told them she wants to be the one to beat Holm.
“If that’s what she wants, sorry, but I’m going to ruin that for her,” Tate said. “If they want to make that rematch happen, that’s how I see it going down because, on Saturday, I’m going to go in there, and I’m confident that I’m going to win the belt. So, they’re definitely going to have to adjust the game plan. I would like to see Holly and Ronda fight again, but it just may not be for the belt.”
Despite what you may hear from the legions of casual fans who hopped from the Rousey bandwagon onto Holm’s, Miesha Tate does have a chance of winning the belt on Saturday night. She’s not going out there with something to prove about her striking, and is going to put her wrestling base to good use trying to smother Holly Holm.
Before she switched her nickname to ‘Cupcake,’ Miesha was known as ‘Takedown Tate.’ And while Holly Holm has an impressive amount of firepower in her arsenal, a lot of it requires she stay standing upright to use it. There’s also the question of consistency — leading up to the Rousey fight, people were quick to note Holm’s lackluster performances in the Octagon. She had two wins, both decisions — and one of them a razor thin split decision to middle of the pack TUF contestant Raquel Pennington.
A Holm loss to Tate would be devastating to the UFC. When originally trying to set up Rousey vs. Holm 2 for UFC 200, Dana White said he should lose his promoter’s license if he didn’t make that fight. But if Tate drags Holm down into the mud and grinds her out for a decision, Holm’s aura of invincibility goes away, and so does half of the pay-per-view sales for the UFC’s rematch of the century. Sure, people will still tune in to check it out. But not in the numbers if the stars had aligned and an undefeated Holm rematched Rousey as champion.
Ronda said she needs Holm to win so she can be the one to defeat her. The longer she spends away from the sport refusing to answer fighting questions, the more likely she is to lose this opportunity. And the millions of dollars that would have come with a rematch made while the iron was hot.