After several unsuccessful runs at the UFC women's bantamweight title, it's fair to assume that Miesha Tate is thrilled to finally have that belt. It's no surprise than that she wears that thing as often as she can (and who wouldn't?).
"It feels damn good to walk around with the belt." she admitted to MMAJunkie.
A drastic about-face, seeing as Tate was contemplating retirement just a few months ago. In November, she was passed over for another shot at the title against Ronda Rousey in favor of Holly Holm, even though Tate was coming off a four-fight winning streak.
Holm ultimately beat Rousey to take the title, opening the door for Tate to challenge for the championship one more time.
During her fight against Holm, Tate was down on the scorecards going into the fifth round. She dominated in the second, but the rest of those rounds belonged to Holm.
Then, in the final stretch, Tate made UFC history by coming back and choking out Holm with only minutes left on the clock. Needless to say, Tate is no longer thinking about retirement.
In fact, she recently signed a new multiyear deal with the UFC. Details of the contract are being kept under wraps, but suffice to say Tate is more than happy with its terms:
"It’s one thing to believe you can, and it’s another thing once you’ve done it. Once you’ve done it, you feel so much more confident. I believed I could, but I’ve proven it to the rest of the world. So it just puts you on this elevated level of confidence."
But that doesn't mean that Tate is going to turn into a diva:
"I’m still going to be grounded in all of this, for sure, but I just really believe in myself, and it feels good to see the rest of the world believe what I’ve been saying the whole time, that I knew I was capable of this."
Tate's next fight is with the #4-ranked oAmanda Nunes at UFC 200, where Tate will defend her newly acquired title for the first time.
That doesn't mean a rematch with Holm is out of the question. Though, this time around, Tate says things will be different.
"I have nothing but respect for her," Tate said. "She was a very tough opponent, but I’m even more confident going into a second fight because I didn’t push the pace on the ground when I got her on the ground, and now I feel very confident that I could have caught her sooner. So I think I would get a submission a lot earlier in a rematch, if that were to happen."
Tate came under fire by Holm's camp for not immediately jumping into a rematch, and instead taking the Nunes fight. There were also rumors that the UFC wanted Tate to wait for Rousey's return later this year, but Tate would rather give someone else a chance at the title, just like Holm did with her:
"(Holm) said from the very beginning, ‘I want to be an active champion, and I don’t want to wait for Ronda,' So she was doing what she wanted, and I was the girl next in line, so that’s what she had to do.
"Now, I have beaten Holly, I’ve finished Holly, and now I want to fight the next girl in line. Now, I’m giving Amanda that chance, if you want to look at it that way."
With the UFC women's bantamweight division a place for so many great fighters, it's no doubt that a rematch with Holm will take place eventually, as well as Tate-Rousey 3 somewhere down the line. Once the dust settles, who knows who will have the belt (and keep it), but either way, it's going to be a lot of fun to watch.