Strikeforce Makes It Official: Ronda Rousey v. Miesha Tate

Posted: January 8, 2012 in MMA, Strikeforce, WMMA
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s now official: Ronda Rousey will be fighting Miesha Tate for the Strikeforce Bantamweight (135lb) title. This has produced numerous threads on Facebook, Twitter, and all the MMA forums, with each post seeming to fall into one of two categories:

1. Ronda will armbar Miesha in less than 61 seconds; and
2. Ronda didn’t deserve the shot, and Miesha will prove that by knockout.

It’s surprising that there appears to be no middle ground among those offering an opinion, which is great because it means there’s serious buzz being generated. This is good for Strikeforce and women’s MMA generally. Although I also fall into one of these categories, I promise you that it has nothing to do with that hype. I simply get something that some others are missing.

Ronda in 60 Seconds

Ronda Rousey will easily beat Miesha Tate the same way she does everyone else: submission in round 1. If you disagree, then you’re actually giving women’s combat sports too much credit. I’ve been an advocate of women’s MMA for some time now, having faith that, once developed, it’ll be a great product. Whether it’s ever as good as the men’s division is hard to predict but in any case irrelevant to the point. It will be a product worth watching — in fact it already is — and will eventually generate the kind of buzz we’re seeing with this fight, but much more often.

As for this fight, those in category #2 just don’t understand that there is only one well-developed, high-quality combat sports organization that’s available to women, and that’s USA Judo (of which she’s been a member almost since birth). USA Judo is highly organized, highly competitive, and international in scope. Miesha Tate wrestling in high school against two other women statewide (yes, I’m exaggerating) does not prepare her the same way Judo prepared Ronda. The fact that Miesha trains with men doesn’t change the equation. Every professional combat athlete will tell you that training with the best doesn’t compare to actually competing against the best. When it came to competing, Miesha simply didn’t have the same level of competition because 1) there aren’t many competitors in the first place, and 2) she didn’t fight people beyond her relatively small region. Thus, the complaint that Ronda lacks experience is actually ridiculous. Miesha is far too green for this fight, and the fear in her eyes and ridiculousness of some of her comments on the matter demonstrate that.

Please note, that by “fear” I’m not saying Miesha is afraid of getting hurt. She’s a fighter, and when she loses, she’ll bounce right back and gladly get hit in the face on her climb back up the ladder. What scares Miesha is that she knows her lack of experience will likely result in a quick loss. If she fights Kauffman and rematches Coenen, she has the chance to legitimize her status as champion with two successful title defenses. If she fights Ronda and loses in 60 seconds, people will unfairly call her win over Coenen a fluke. One-and-done usually means you’re a fluke (unless your opponent also is one-and-done, which would instead suggest parity). This will be unfair, of course, because removing Ronda from the equation, Miesha really is the best 135-lb fighter in Strikeforce, and perhaps in all of American WMMA. Ronda, though, is just too far above that pack to lose a fight, even if she goes into it with food poisoning.

Other complaints include that Ronda can’t take a hit. She can. I can personally vouch for her claim that there are almost as many punches thrown in judo as there are in kickboxing (for what little my judo experience is worth). I’m certain she’s been hit hard and fought through it. There’s also the concern that Ronda can’t handle the weight drop, but Ronda walks around at 145 lbs. She doesn’t have to “make weight” for featherweight, and so she should have no problem dropping 10 pounds. In fact, she’s fought in two different weight classes while in judo.

Keep Talking, Mr. Anonymous

Many of you will continue to kid yourselves into thinking Miesha has a prayer, then sink into silence when she loses in a minute or so. Having published my opinion on a blog that I promote, I don’t have that luxury, so feel free to come back and take me to task. On this issue, I’m not the slightest bit nervous. In fact, if Ronda takes more than a round to defeat Tate, I’ll happily characterize myself as “wrong.”

In closing, I’ll remind you that our talk means nothing. The fight will happen, and the results will be the results regardless of any of our predictions. As Ronda continues to embarrass the other women, though, I’ll continue to say, “I told you so,” at every step of her career. The only real challenges she faces are Cyborg Santos (after suspension) or Kyra Gracie (if she ever makes the move to MMA). Why are these women challenges whereas the others are not? Because women’s MMA is a bit better developed in their home country of Brazil. Not surprisingly, 5 of Santos’s 11 wins have been first round stoppages (including the one against Hiroko Yamanaka that was just declared a no contest), and only two of those were decisions, showing that she’s also head-and-shoulders above the rest in her division. Kyra has yet to compete in MMA, but when she does, she’ll set the WMMA world on fire. Nevertheless, the smart money is still on Ronda, as her highly-organized vehicle for development was international, not merely national, in scope. In any case, that’s when things get interesting. Those three represent the cream of the crop as far as women’s combat sports is concerned, and until they meet one another, the outcomes of their fights will be predictable.

Don’t forget to listen to Fight Fans Radio Monday through Thursday at 3pm.

On Twitter, follow
Me @MMADork
Strikeforce @Strikeforce
Ronda Rousey @RondaRousey
Miesha Tate @MieshaTate
Marloes Coenen @MarloesCoenen
Sarah Kauffman @mmasarah
Cristiane Santos @criscyborg
Kyra Gracie @kyragracie
Bloody Elbow @BloodyElbow
Fight Fans Radio @FightFansRadio

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