Miesha Tate (pictured) sat angrily and watched Holly Holm easily pick Ronda Rousey apart with her hands in November at UFC 193. Holm capped off her standup assault with a highlight reel head kick to capture the bantamweight title, a belt that most pundits thought would only be available if Rousey chose to vacate it for Hollywood’s greener pastures.
That was supposed to be Tate’s fight, but UFC president Dana White pulled an about-face by pulling Tate after promising her next dibs at Rousey in favor of Holm. Tate was so bitter she even contemplated retirement.
Fast forward four months and here Tate stands, one perfect performance away from capturing the belt that evaded her in two straight title tilts. With a golden opportunity staring her dead in the eyes, Tate is hinting that she’s willing to play Holm’s game because she thinks her chin is “suspect.”
“I think that Holly’s chin might be a little bit suspect,” Tate said during Wednesday’s UFC 196 media workouts. “I have seen her wobbled a couple of times. There were some punches that didn’t look like they were anything more than I could deliver, that’s for sure. I think that’s a little bit questionable, too.
“I’ve watched some of her fights and I’ve seen her chin get tested, and I think it’s a little bit suspect. I saw Raquel [Pennington] put her down with a shot and actually even Ronda caught her with a left hook and she wobbled. So it just leads me to think that she might have great striking, but maybe a glass chin, too.”
This could very well be Tate’s final crack at the crown, it’s difficult to sell someone who’s 0-3 in previous championship affairs, so she might want to choose her strategy more wisely considering she hasn’t posted a KO victory since putting Sarah Oriza to sleep in 2009.
Prior to changing her nickname to “Cupcake,” Tate went by “Takedown.” She might want to turn back the hands of time and employ that game plan. Holm is a former three-division boxing champion and has displayed a clear separation from her MMA peers in that department.
Tate will be riding a four-fight winning streak into Saturday, but all of those wins have come via unanimous decision. It would be in Tate’s best interest to try to close the distance and grind the belt away from the new champ.
Tate might think Holm’s chin isn’t solid, but going after it isn’t a solid strategy.
UFC 196 goes down inside MGM Grand Garden Arean in Las Vegas.