Las Vegas, NV — Miesha Tate had retired before current opponent Ketlen Vieira even arrived in the UFC.
Which makes their UFC Vegas 43 main event all the more unlikely. But Vieira, for one, believed the former UFC women’s bantamweight champ had left the sport too soon.
“I always thought that she retired too soon,” Vieira (11-2) told media outlets including Cageside Press on Wednesday. “I always followed her work, I always admired her, and I thought because she was retired, I would never face her.”
Not only does Vieira get to face her, however, she also gets to headline a card against Tate. “I’m very grateful, especially because I’m doing my first main event here in Las Vegas against a former champion,” the Brazilian stated.
Vieira has had something of a rocky road to get here, however. She’s averaged just one fight a year the last few years, making Saturday’s bout, her second in 2021, a rarity. Even this match-up had to be pushed back, after Tate contracted COVID-19.
“Everything made me stronger,” Vieira said of her stumbles and setbacks over the past few years. “I believe that a great champion needs to go through a tough patch to become stronger, and that’s what happened to me.” Vieira, who puts her faith in god, added “everything I’ve been through just made me stronger.”
Following her comeback in July, Miesha Tate has said she’s in the best shape of her career — and Vieira for one agrees.
“I believe she’s in her best shape,” said Vieira, citing Tate’s physique, which she has been showing off on social media. “Also, if someone who has her experience didn’t believe that they were in their best shape, like they want to go become a champion, she wouldn’t have come back.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 43 media day appearance from Ketlen Vieira above. More coverage from the event can be found below. The card takes place this Saturday, November 20, 2021 at the Apex in Las Vegas.