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Tate’s First Title Defense Announced; Future for the Bantamweights

Miesha Tate (Getty Images)

Miesha Tate (Getty Images)


After much anticipation as to who newly crowned Women’s Bantamweight Champion Miesha “Cupcake” Tate (18-5 MMA) would face for her first title defense, the UFC announced Wednesday evening she will be facing #4 ranked Amanda Nunes at UFC 200 on July 9 in Las Vegas.

I’m not knocking Nunes (12-4 MMA) at all as a competitor. The Brazilian bantamweight earned herself a Performance of the Night bonus back in August after she submitted Sara McMann just two minutes into the first round and had an impressive unanimous decision victory over Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 196. Both women are well rounded and can hold their own on the ground or standing, which will make for a great fight, but what about the top 3 ranked at 135-pounds?

After Tate defeated former Bantamweight Champion Holly Holm (10-1 MMA) last month at UFC 196 in true warrior fashion, a rematch wasn’t out of the question. That was an almost-five round war and Holm went out like a champ till the very end. In a league where rematches are common, regardless of how the original went *coughMcGregorDiazcough*, many believed 200 was going to just be a repeat of 196. (hey save on marketing materials where you can, right?)

We can’t forget about Ronda Rousey’s comeback though. This past week there have been numerous reports of a November return for the former undefeated champion. While no one expected her to be back for UFC 200 in July, there was the idea that Holm vs Tate 2 could result in Holm regaining the belt. Leading to November being Holm vs Rousey 2, the rematch the world was waiting for.

Which leads to my prediction for the bantamweights…

Let’s add Cat Zingano to this mix. After a devastating 14 second loss to Rousey (12-1 MMA) at UFC 184, Zingano (9-1 MMA) went off the map, but on purpose. On social media, we saw the #3 ranked bantamweight training in Thailand and working on herself not only physically, but mentally. In recent weeks, she’s been teasing a big fight announcement coming soon. While I strongly believed it was going to be the Cris Cyborg debut, I’m now turning towards Holm.

Both contenders are coming off of losses and are top ranked. Instead of keeping them on the shelf, get Zingano back in the octagon and keep Holm ready. The winner of that match up gets Rousey in November. For an interim belt.

Ha, kidding! But I’m not kidding about the winner facing Rousey in her come back match. Either rematch would be a big draw for the UFC and whether her coaches agree or not, she needs a warm up fight before going right into the title picture again. Not for the physical aspect, but the mental. She hit bottom hard following her first professional loss at UFC 193 to Holm and had no problem making that publically known. The Rousey we see in November will be unlike any mean-mugged Rousey we’ve seen in recent years and either of these opponents will be just enough of a challenge to test if she’s ready to be back sans title.

So far 2016 is following the trend of 2015 as we see more champions handing over their straps and big names having their hype trains derailed. Will Nunes keep the gold moving in the 135-division or is Cupcake finally where she belongs as champion?

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Kristine is a Managing Editor for as well as UFC/MMA Lead Writer. She also hosts a column known as Fighting Words.
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