In 2016, Miesha Tate surprised the MMA world by retiring from the sport following a loss to Raquel Pennington at UFC 205. At only 30 years old, and just a few months removed from winning the UFC bantamweight title, Tate was walking away from the sport, ostensibly still in her prime. Tate cited a lack of competitive fire as one of the primary reasons for walking away from the sport when she did, but now, four years later, it seems that fire is starting to be rekindled.
Speaking with James Lynch recently, Tate discussed the possibility of returning to competition in the form of a grappling match against current Bellator featherweight champion Cris Cyborg.
“I have six (fights left on my UFC contract),” Tate said. “So if I wanted to fight, which I’m not, I wouldn’t be able to fight anywhere else. So you wouldn’t see me pop up and fight for ONE Championship or anybody else because obviously, I can’t legally do that. I would like to grapple, and you know, Cyborg did call me out to a grappling match. That piques my interest.”
The idea of a fight between Tate and Cyborg is nothing new. After winning the bantamweight title from Holly Holm in 2016, Tate made overtures about facing Cyborg who was still technically signed to Invicta but was starting to take fights in the UFC. The bout never came to fruition but, should they be able to navigate the various legal pratfalls, Tate is hopeful at least a grappling match could be put together.
“It would be amazing,” Tate said. “I think if we want to make it happen we definitely have to figure out the legalities of it, because my fight contract is owned by the UFC, right? She fights for Bellator, and I work (for) and represent ONE Championship.”
Since retiring from the sport, Tate has managed to keep herself busy. In 2018 she joined ONE Championship as aVice President, brand ambassador, and color commentator. She has also given birth to two children and co-hosts a weekly show on SiriusXM Radio. With enough time removed from the grind of competition though, Tate admits that now she’s definitely feeling the urge to get back in the swing of things without getting too serious about it.
“Right now I’m just focused on having fun,” Tate said. “This is something I wasn’t able to do in the latter part of my career. The last couple years of my career were really strenuous and a lot of that had to do with my personal life. I wasn’t having fun, I was exhausted, to be honest. Mentally exhausted before I even got to the fights. Some I was able to really bring it, and other ones I wasn’t. But I want to compete again, I want to grapple, and I want to get in great shape and I want to have fun and that’s what I’m doing.”
But does that extend to MMA as well? As Tate pointed out, there are numerous hurdles for making her MMA return, however the former bantamweight champion is still only 34 years old and is a big name in the sport. If she wanted to make a return, there would certainly be plenty of opportunity to do so. However, Tate doesn’t seem interested in that, but she also isn’t going to say it will never happen.
“Nothing is ever completely closed in my book,” Tate said. “I am somebody who follows my heart and I follow my passion, and that could change at a moment’s notice. I am the kind of person who – I’m kind of all over the place, to be honest. Not kind of, I am. I am all over the place. I picked up in less than six months and moved my whole family to Singapore at the drop of a hat. That’s who I am. If something speaks to me, speaks to my heart, then I’m all in.”