Las Vegas, NV — In June, former UFC bantamweight champion Miesha Tate (18-7) gave birth to son Daxton, the second of her two children. Shortly after, she decided to return to life as an active fighter, putting a four-plus year retirement behind her.
“I just kind of knew. The pandemic had hit, it kind of brought everything home, put everything in perspective. What’s really important. And time is very valuable,” Tate told media outlets including Cageside Press following the UFC 260 weigh-in on Friday.
Tate stressed that she doesn’t have to return to fighting. Dana White didn’t call her — in fact, she had to hound the UFC President to convince him that she was coming back for the right reasons. “Nobody’s twisting my arm. This is 100% because I’m in the best place I’ve ever been, and because I want to do this,” said Tate.
After sitting down with White, Tate underscored that it wasn’t about money. In fact, she was making good money as a Vice President with ONE Championship. “So what are you doing here?” White asked her. “I want for f*cking fight, that’s what I’m doing here!” was Tate’s reply.
In the end, Tate just knew. “People say that when you fall in love, when you know, you know. It’s the same thing with the sport. I’ve fallen in love with the sport again,” she said.
Having captured the bantamweight title in her first UFC run, against Holly Holm at UFC 196, not to mention the Strikeforce title before that, is Tate ready to go on another title run? The short answer is yes.
“Yes. Absolutely. I’m not here for anything less than gold.” Inspiring her kids is the cherry on top, said Tate. “I want to be that role model for my kids, but that’s not the reason I’m doing this. I’m doing this for me.”
“I want to come back and add some spice to this division,” she added. “I want to be the greatest again, I want to be the best.”
While it may come as a surprise to some, ONE Championship chief Chatri Sityodtong has been supportive in Tate’s comeback. Even if it meant losing her to the competition. “ONE has been so supportive in this decision. I really appreciate that, because I suppose if they really wanted to, they could put the kibosh on it,” she noted. “Chatri has been all about me. He’s an athlete first too. Basically, I put in my 30 days [notice]. I have 30 more days with ONE Championship.”
The news of her UFC return broke much sooner than expected, but once those 30 days are up, Tate will be absolved of all obligations.
As for ONE, Tate revealed that they did explore the possibility of a grappling contest at one point. But with her heart set on MMA, and six fights left on her UFC deal when she retired, it was clear the octagon was her destination. She’ll arrive there this July, taking on Marion Reneau on July 17, 2021.