“Always a bridesmaid, never a bride” was a saying linked with Ultimate Fighting Championship competitor Miesha Tate for years. Tate was never able to defeat Ronda Rousey and ascend to the top of the UFC bantamweight division, and there were even whispers in 2015 that Tate was never again going to receive a chance to win a title while fighting for the company. All of that changed on March 5, 2016, however, when Tate caught UFC Champion Holly Holm in a rear-naked choke. Holm was unable to escape and refused to tap, and thus Tate choked out her opponent to win the championship that had eluded her for so long.
Tate has been a babyface among diehard UFC fans for years, and not just because she was the underdog who was unable to topple Rousey when the then-undefeated champion was known as “the baddest woman on the planet.” Along with being an accomplished fighter, Tate is also a legitimate hero who once saved the life of a person. We don’t know when or even if Rousey will decide to return to the UFC following her loss to Holm in November 2015, but the hope is that Tate will be waiting for her third opportunity to show that she can defeat Rousey on a big stage and with a championship on the line.
10. Tate’s Early Life
Miesha Tate was born on August 18, 1986 in Tacoma Washington, and that is where she was raised. Tate has admitted, in interviews, that she was always a “tomboy” while growing up, and she participated in multiple sports as a youth. In the end, it was wrestling that interested her the most, and her time on the mat as a teenager would be a preview of what was to come for the UFC Champion. Just as has been the case during her mixed martial arts career, Tate had ups and downs as a wrestler. It is safe to assume lessons she learned while wrestling have stuck with her to this day.
9. Tate the Wrestler
Tate may have loved wrestling, but wrestling did not always love her. “I got my butt kicked pretty hard for the first few weeks. I had no idea what I was doing, like a fish out of water,” Tate once explained while speaking to Jason Probst of Sherdog back in 2011. Tate refused to be held back, though, and she improved and ultimately won a Washington state championship as a high school wrestler. It was during her college years when Tate was first introduced to Brazilian jiu-jitsu. As Holly Holm learned in March, Tate learned quite a lot as a student of the martial arts.
8. Tate’s Nicknames
During the early portions of her MMA career, Tate had the nickname “Takedown.” This stemmed from her background as a wrestler. Tate changed her nickname to “Cupcake” in 2012, however, and she talked about that decision while speaking with Brian Hemminger of MMA Mania. “I just want to have a fun nickname, have a fun mentality again,” Tate said during that interview. Along with being a lover of baking, Tate is also known as a huge fan of cupcakes. In fact, she claimed in post-fight interviews after she defeated Holm for the UFC Championship that she was going to enjoy eating some cupcakes. Tate certainly earned those treats.
7. Tate Was Too Tough?
Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey met inside of the cage with the 135-pound Strikeforce Championship on the line back in March 2012. Tate did all she could to resist Rousey’s submission attempts, but “Cupcake” eventually found herself in Rousey’s legendary armbar. Even though there was no chance for her to escape and there was plenty of time left in the round, Tate refused to tap out as her arm was bent in an unnatural way. Tate eventually had to submit, but her stubbornness did lead to some criticizing her for being “too tough” and for not being smart and living to fight another day.
6. Tate’s NFL Team
As was mentioned earlier in this piece, Tate had a love of all kinds of sports during her younger days. Included among those sports, not surprisingly, was the National Football League. It should, thus, not be all that surprising that the Washington native is a fan of the Seattle Seahawks. While it took longer than Tate had hoped for her to have a belt around her waist, both Tate and the Seahawks can boast about winning a world championship. Maybe the Seahawks could send a ring or a customized belt to the woman who is now one of the club’s more famous fans.
5. Tate’s Boyfriend
Tate met MMA fighter Bryan Caraway at Central Washington University well before she could even dream of one day becoming a UFC Champion. The two hit it off in more ways than one. Not only are Tate and Caraway dating as of March 2016. It is Caraway who, as explained in a piece written by Josh Peter of USA Today Sports, has served as Tate’s trainer. Caraway helped prepare Tate for what likely would have been her final ever UFC title fight had she lost to Holm in March. Sometimes, an “inner-office relationship” can not only work out. It can be prosperous.
4. Tate’s Heartbreak
Ronda Rousey turned plenty of heads in February 2016 when she explained during an interview that she had considered killing herself after her loss to Holm the prior November. When speaking about the subject in February, Tate explained why suicide would never enter her mind. “I had a boyfriend who committed suicide, early on in my life, and I promised that I would never do that to the people who are around me,” Tate said during her interview. Tate has experienced plenty of ups and downs during her pro career, so much so that her bout against Holm could have been the last time that we saw Tate in the cage had things gone differently.
3. Tate Almost Retired?
Tate did not keep it a secret that she was frustrated in 2015. She believed that she deserved a third chance to defeat Rousey, but Tate eventually learned that what she thought was her championship bout had been given to Holm. Tate was so frustrated by this and by the fact that she did not see herself getting a title shot anytime soon that she was reportedly contemplating retirement during the fall. As annoyed as she may have been with her status in the UFC at the time, Tate did not give up. Tate’s persistence worked out to her benefit, but there is still a chance that 2016 could be her final year in UFC if she chooses to pursue other interests.
2. Tate and Holm Almost Fought to a Draw
We probably would have been headed toward a Tate versus Holm rematch had Tate not locked in a rear-naked choke in the final round of their fight. Scorecards obtained by sources such as Sherdog show that the fight was probably going to be scored a draw. Tate had dominated the second round and scored 10-8 for Round 2, while Holm had won Rounds 1, 3 and 4. Tate was going to win Round 5 for controlling Holm on the ground, but she probably would not have been awarded a second 10-8 score. Nobody likes to see a draw, and Tate delighted the in-arena crowd by notching the victory.
1. Tate is a Hero
“Hero” is a word that gets tossed around way too frequently in the sports world. Tate is not just a sports hero. She is a real-life hero, one who saved the life of her boyfriend’s mother when all were on vacation. Caraway’s mother had stopped breathing and was apparently even turning blue when Tate sprung into action and, with the help of an inhaler, saved the woman’s life. The full story provided by MMA Junkie is incredible, one that all who are interested in learning more about Tate should read. Tate is a champion inside and outside of the cage, and she could very well be your new favorite fighter.