Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate finally makes her flyweight debut at UFC Long Island this weekend — and the timing, she believes, was meant to be.
Tate (19-8) was booked against opponent Lauren Murphy on a couple of occasions earlier this year, only for the bout to be postponed repeatedly. Now, the date is just about to arrive, in New York, with fans. That makes all the difference for Tate, who says outside of Las Vegas, there’s nowhere she’d rather fight.
Having returned from a four-year retirement last summer, Tate also plans on making a statement in her flyweight debut. A big one.
“I really want to make this fight the statement of my career,” Tate said during this week’s UFC Long Island media day. “So I have big plans for this fight, and I’m really excited for Saturday, man. The finish line is close. I’m glad that it’s an early fight. I’d be ready tomorrow, I’m so ready to go.”
The reason behind that drive, and the desire to make a career defining statement comes at least in part because of the opportunity Tate is now afforded.
“I’m dropping to flyweight, and I think I was always meant to be here and I just never had the opportunity. The flyweight division wasn’t introduced to the UFC until well after I retired.” Her loss against Ketlen Vieira last fall convinced her to make the move down, she added. “I think it was important that I did lose that fight. I’m glad it was a very competitive one, but it was a bit of a sophomore slump. So I think now, I’m going to be coming into— I look at this as like my junior year. I’ve got to win this fight; I believe that will put me in title contention. That’s what I’ll be calling for.”
The UFC’s women’s flyweight champ, Valentina Shevchenko, appears to be receptive to the idea. Earlier this year, Tate’s name was among those listed as potential opponents by “Bullet,” who has been an unstoppable force at 125 pounds.
“I was very excited to hear her mention my name,” Tate said when asked about the champ name-dropping her. “Because if the champion is saying it, there’s going to be some value in it. Because she definitely has some pull in whether she goes up to 135 and fights, or stays right here at 125. I want to make that statement, and I want to say that she has work to be done here in this division.”
Watch the full UFC Long Island media day scrum with Miesha Tate above. The event takes place Saturday, July 16, 2022 with the main card kicking off at 2PM ET on ABC.