Here's some background info about Miesha Tate and her career as a professional fighter, but if you want to skip right ahead to the pictures I won't hold it against you.
Miesha Tate is the new woman of the hour over in the UFC's bantamweight division. Miesha Tate recently choked out Holly Holm to win the championship belt. Holly Holm is the lady that dethroned former dominant champion Ronda Rousey with the head-kick knockout "heard 'round the world."
Things are going to get very interesting now because Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey have a history, and a very bitter rivalry. These two genuinely dislike one another- it's not just hype to try to promote a fight.
Miesha and Ronda's feud goes back all the way to 2012, when the two first fought. Ronda submitted Miesha via arm-bar and won Miesha's Strikeforce championship belt from her. Fast forward to late 2013 when the pair would meet again. This time it was Miesha challenging Ronda for her UFC championship belt. Miesha would make it into the third round before being arm-barred by Ronda once again, and it remains the longest fight of Ronda Rousey's career. Miesha was the champ when Ronda came around, took her belt, then became a superstar, so there's definitely been motivation on Miesha's side. But it's finally her time to shine.
15 Bathroom Mirror Selfie
Even the baddest female fighter on the planet isn't immune from stopping for a quick bathroom mirror selfie session to show off when her curls are on point. She's looking to continue her reign as champ with a win over Ronda, and to avenge the toughest losses of her career at the same time. But first, thankfully, she's got time to strike a pose or two.
If you're not following Miesha Tate on Instagram yet, you should probably do that as soon as you finish browsing the rest of these photos. You never know what you might see.
14 Turn The Other Cheek
13 Cupcakes by the Ocean
Miesha changed her nickname from "Takedown" to "Cupcake;" it represents her evolution as a mixed martial artist. Originally, she was known as a tough wrestler but as her game became a lot more versatile, she didn't want to be limited to one style. That doesn't mean she's shying away from a big takedown, but she's got a lot more tricks up her sleeves. And cupcakes, too.
"I just want to have a fun nickname, have a fun mentality again." - Miesha Tate
12 Put 'Em Up
Miesha trains at Team Takedown, an MMA gym known for wrestling skills. But that doesn't mean she can't stand and trade shots. She did a much better job on her feet against Holly Holm than Ronda Rousey did, and then drew on her wrestling skills to take Holly down to the ground, showing veteran-level patience as she waited for the perfect moment to sink in the rear-naked choke to submit Holly Holm. Holly did a good job of defending initially, but Miesha's relentless attack was too much for the champion.
Along with raw fighting talent and performance on any given night, an MMA fighter's career success is largely based on their marketability, which can be defined in numerous ways.
It can be a fighter's ability to get on the microphone and to cut a slick promo, it could be a particularly exciting fighting style, and in a lot of cases it also doesn't hurt to be ridiculously good looking as well. More and more, fighters are learning that it takes more than just a slick highlight reel to make it to the top of the game, and in 2016 it's all about marketability.
The next huge superhero movie is Batman v Superman, but something tells us Miesha could hold her own against either one of them. The very concept of Batman v Superman was poorly executed in the film, and kind of a weird idea to start with, but there's nothing weird about Miesha's outfit in this photo, is there? In fact, Miesha rocks the superheroine outfit better than some of the actresses who've been in DC's movies. Why can't Halloween happen every month?
Miesha has appeared in plenty of magazines, for obvious reasons. Not only is she Covergirl material, but she's also a great ambassador for the sport of MMA. Miesha is well-spoken, intelligent, and also a world champion. It doesn't get much better than that.
Several ladies have come before her to help lay the foundation for mainstream acceptance of MMA, and women's MMA in particular, but it's still a struggle for the sport to get the respect it deserves.
You would be surprised how many men (with zero training, zero fight experience, usually not even in shape) think they could demolish ladies like Ronda, Miesha, Holly... the top female fighters on earth.
When we finally get to a point where the average drunk dude at the bar realizes that the top female fighters on the planet would absolutely crush him in a fight, that will be a big water moment to show how far the sport has come.
7 Wonder Woman
There's a new Wonder Woman movie coming out, and it's a damn shame that they didn't cast Miesha Tate. She can kick all kinds of butt, and she's clearly a fan, too. Sure, Gal Gadot will do a great job in the role, but Miesha seems like a lock. Also, getting into acting is kind of the natural progression for top-tier female MMA fighters.
After Gina Carano lost a devastating fight to Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos, Gina went on to pursue her acting career, most recently with a role in Deadpool. We've all seen Ronda's acting in movies like Entourage and Fast 7, and know she landed the starring role in the upcoming Roadhouse remake. So why shouldn't Miesha take a similar trajectory? Chances are she's still too focused on fighting at this point in her career.
6 Sitting Pretty
Miesha's looking strong and sexy in this photo shoot, showing that women don't have to be stick-thin to look good. An athlete's body can change a lot, even day to day. Between cutting weight, re-hydrating, training really hard, taking a bit of time off from training, things are going to fluctuate a lot. Having the confidence to be comfortable in your own skin at all times is another hallmark of a champion.
From all done up for photo shoots and magazine covers, to just chilling casually in the car, Miesha can pull off any kind of look.
The life of a fighter isn't easy. Long days, short nights, all sorts of potential distractions that are trying to sabotage your success. It takes a lot of dedication. The mental game is just as important as the physical aspects of training and fighting. Sometimes just relaxing is as important as anything else.
4 That Look In Her Eyes
Yeah, she definitely lifts and DEFINITELY squats, but probably not while wearing heels. In an interview with Shape magazine, Miesha gave some tips for achieving a killer body, and her top piece of advice was to practice martial arts. Training martial arts isn't just a great way to get into killer shape, it also helps with all sorts of things like self-esteem, meeting new people, and being able to protect yourself in dangerous situations.
Take her word for it, it obviously works.
3 Natural Beauty
Here's a photo from Miesha Tate's Facebook page attributed to Nick Honard. Miesha is very proud of this photo, here's the caption:
"I am proud to say there is no photo editing, no airbrushing, no alterations to the photo other than the black and white filter. Women should be proud to promote a healthy body image and not that unrealistic crap you see on the covers of magazines these days."
You tell 'em, Miesha!
2 Killer Abs
Miesha shows off her dangerous abs. Professional fighters train every single day, and their intense training camps can last months at a time. It's a lot of stress on the body, but that's what it takes to prepare for battle inside the cage.
Fighters are known for cutting massive amounts of weight, sometimes upward of fifteen pounds or more in a single day. It's a dangerous tradition, it can cause serious lasting health problems, and it's something that should be removed from the culture of fighting, but we're not gonna lie- it definitely helps make those abs pop.
1 Gun Show
Strong is sexy, and Miesha Tate is about as tough and strong as they come. She's accomplished a lot in her career, and she's finally getting the spotlight that she deserves in the UFC. Despite their bitter rivalry, Miesha owes a lot of where she is right now to the existence of Ronda Rousey. Ronda brought a lot of attention to women's MMA, and Dana White has often been quoted saying that if it weren't for Ronda, that women wouldn't be fighting in the UFC right now.
Every great fighter needs a great rival to really cement themselves as a legend. If you aren't fighting anybody that matters, and you don't have any opponents that can get fans interested in seeing you fight, you'll never make it to that top level. Fortunately for both Miesha and us, Ronda's waiting again.