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Miesha Tate eschews break, stays moving with UFC on Fox 11

Local women’s bantamweight star faces off with Liz Carmouche in Orlando

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Stephen Sylvanie

UFC womens bantamweight title contender Miesha Tate trains in the ring with coach Jimmy Gifford at the UFC Gym Friday, Dec. 20, 2013.

UFC 168: Rousey vs. Tate

Miesha Tate extends her hand to shake Ronda Rousey's after Rousey submitted Tate with an arm bar to successfully defend her bantamweight title at UFC 168 Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Launch slideshow »

Miesha Tate knew the UFC had several options regarding her future after a second loss to Ronda Rousey last December.

She wasn’t sure she was comfortable with every potential direction of her career, so Tate took matters into her own hands. Less than a couple of weeks after the Rousey defeat, the 27-year-old locally based fighter called the UFC brass with a request.

“I asked them to get me back in there as quickly as they can and to please give me someone credible to fight,” Tate recalled.

The UFC obliged. Tate makes a relatively fast turnaround Saturday in Orlando, Fla., considering she was coming off a loss, via fourth-round submission to Rousey at UFC 168, in the biggest fight of her life.

Tate (13-5 MMA, 0-2 UFC) encounters a fellow Rousey victim, Liz Carmouche (9-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC), in the co-main event of UFC on Fox 11.

“I don’t expect it to be a walkthrough,” Tate said. “I’d be pleasantly surprised to get the win in the first round. I’d be happy to get it, but I know Liz has a big heart and is really tough. I’m sure she’s really hungry at this point. I think it’s going to be a couple rounds of a really-tough war.”

That’s exactly the prescription Tate recommended for herself after falling short of the UFC women’s bantamweight championship. It’s a remedy that wouldn’t have worked for most fighters.

Tate could have reasonably taken longer before accepting another fight following an exhaustive seven months of build-up to UFC 168, which featured a full season of coaching “The Ultimate Fighter,” where her rivalry with Rousey fevered to new highs. But she knew waiting wouldn’t work; it would have instead sickened her.

“I just hate sitting on losses,” Tate explained. “It drives me crazy, so if I was going to take a break, I wanted it to be a break I earned off of a victory preferably. I didn’t want to just sit with that loss on my mind.”

She’s thought about Rousey long enough already. Tate rewatched the Rousey fight twice to review her performance, and was surprised with what she saw.

Tate discovered she was more competitive than she thought on fight night, particularly in the striking exchanges. She believed some, if not most, of her mistakes were of the mental variety.

“I was doing my best to suppress any emotions, but it’s a hard thing to do sometimes,” Tate said. “The balance is hard. The first time I fought her, I felt like I was so emotional that I was out of control. The second time, I was just putting all my energy into suppressing the emotion so I was kind of drained and flat.”

Tate also found she clung too tightly to her game plan — which consisted of striking with Rousey until she closed the distance, which was the cue to shoot for a takedown — leaving her rigid when in need of a change.

Tate and her coaches have made fighting more liberated a point of emphasis leading up to the meeting with Carmouche.

“I’m not going to put any limitations on myself in this fight,” Tate said. “And I don’t think she is either.”

While most think the Rousey fights are in the past, Tate sticks to the belief that she could eventually work her way back up the champion with the right steps. The first comes Saturday.

Given the way Tate felt after losing to Rousey, the fight with Carmouche had to come immediately.

“I was frustrated, and obviously, think I can do a whole better,” Tate said.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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