Ronda Rousey (L) faces off with Miesha Tate (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

UFC Rivalries: Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate

Before she entered MMA, Ronda Rousey was already a multi-title-holding Judo fighter. She had won gold medals in the Pan American Championships, and silver metals in the world championships. Rousey even competed in the 2008 Olympic games taking the bronze medal – this was the first time an American woman achieved a medal in this division of the Olympics.

Miesha Tate, however, has always been a strong grappler. Winning the 2008 World Team Trials as a grappling Champion and earning the 2008 silver medal at the World Grappling Championships.

Before either of their MMA debuts, both women were at the top of their game in their respective fighting styles.


Tate made her MMA debut in 2007 and won the Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Championships.

Rousey made her MMA debut in 2011 and finished all of her opponents in the first round. After beating her 4th opponent in this quick fashion, Rousey challenged Tate for the Bantamweight Championship. 

This was the first fight of their rivalry, however, there is one more person to consider – Sarah Kaufman. If we look at the FanDuel money lines for that period, Kaufman was the number one contender to Tate. To go up against the champion she needed to take down Kaufman first.

Rousey won the fight and now her eyes were set on Tate.

Their First Fight

Their fight was scheduled and as the days went on both women talked down about their opponent. Tate didn’t believe Rousey deserves a shot at the title. She even said, “To be honest, every time I study that tape, I have to take breaks in the middle because I’m just bored.”

The smack talk was somewhat standard for this time of challenge, but Tate made a sexist remark that made many fans turn their heads. She said that the only reason why Rousey was getting attention was that she was pretty.

Let’s take a step back and remind ourselves about all the accomplishments this formidable fighter achieved before taking on the MMA – that statement was “pick me” at best, and showed a lack of research at worst.

Their first fight was in March 2012. In the first minute, Rousey attempted the armbar technique on Tate, but she escaped.

Back and forth the strikes went until Rousey attempted a second armbar. It was the final minute of the first round. Tate couldn’t take it and submitted it.

Rousey continued to keep her 1 round streak and was now the new bantamweight champion.

Tate received criticism for holding onto that second armbar for too long, as she risked dislocating her shoulder. However, Rousey respected the move saying anyone willing to stay in an armbar is tough.

Their Second Fight

In 2013 the Strikeforce was moved to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which meant that Rousey was automatically named the UFC Bantamweight Champion. Both women were part of this new league, however, a third fighter was in their way.

Cat Zingano and Tate had to fight each other for the chance to take down Rousey. Whoever won was automatically elected for a shot at the title.

Zingano won the match due to a TKO in the third round. However, many people including Tate and Rousey thought the referee judged that too quickly.

Regardless of the rules, Zingano had to reject the opportunity for the title due to an injury. This meant that Tate had a shot to win the new UFC title.

In interviews leading up to the event, Tate admitted she was too emotional before their first fight. She wanted to fight Rousey and beat her up, not win an MMA match. This time she would be more controlled.

Their re-match was in December 2013. Each round Rousey put Tate on a hold, but she managed to escape. This was the first time someone had fought Rousey in the second and third rounds. Records were breaking.

During the third round, Rousey tried her famous hold again, and after 0:58 seconds, Tate finally submitted.

The Impact Of This Rivalry

Because this fight was so intense and showed a new level of talent in the MMA space, the rivalry has been credited with bringing women into the sport. In fact, since that night more women have joined UFC fight nights and they became the first women to appear an EA Sports UFC video game.

The women took their rivalry seriously. They showed how you can stop using the platform to shout hate at the opponent and instead respect a good fight.

Just 2 years after this event, Holly Holm was inspired to join UFC. It didn’t take long for her to dethrone Rousey. We were in a new era of women’s fighting, where inspired athletes were taking on their heroes.

Tate won the title off Holm and lost it a year later to Amanda Nunes.

At this point, both Rousey and Tate bowed out from the ring. Their era was over and they were clapped into the history books as the most influential, inspiring, and amazing fighters in their time.

Where Are They Now?

Ronda Rousey entered the Hall of Fame in 2018, and since then she has joined the WWE becoming the Raw Women’s Champion in 2018 and 2019 and the SmackDown Women’s Champion in 2022 and 2023.

WWE is a staged performance but the physical moves performed are real. In this area, Rousey gets to continue what she loves but leave the competition in her memory.

Miesha Tate became the Vice President of ONE Championship in 2018 and then returned to MMA in 2021.

In her first match back she won her fight against Marion Reneau and earned the Performance of the Night award.

Because of Covid, she wasn’t able to continue fighting for another 2 years.

Final Thoughts

The rivalry between Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate wasn’t just an immense story. It changed the way fighting spots viewed women. They were amazing fighters and still are. They drew in a crowd, gave female fighters respect, and launched a new era of women in the UFC.