A move down to flyweight was already circulating in former UFC champion Miesha Tate‘s mind, but it was UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard who really sparked the move.
Tate (19-8) returns to action this weekend at UFC Long Island. The former bantamweight champion was supposed to fight at UFC 276 at Internation Fight Week, but it was moved up two weeks due to her opponent catching COVID.
After spending her entire career at bantamweight, ‘Cupcake’ is moving down to flyweight in hopes of becoming the second ever two-division women’s champion. The decision to move down has been intriguing to Tate, but it was the promotion’s matchmaker who really got her to do it.
“There was a lot of things that factored into my decision to go to 125. But mostly, the call from Mick Maynard was really what sparked it,” Tate told the media during her UFC media day interview. “In my mind, I really never thought of 125 as I mentioned, my whole career, it was never an option. And it wasn’t till he said, ‘I think 125’ and I said, ‘well, which one is going to get me to the title faster?’ And he seemed to think that 125 was gonna get me there faster.
“I said, ‘You know what, it makes a lot of sense because Julianna [Pena] has the title right now at 135. This sets me up perfectly. Who wouldn’t want to fight Valentina [Shevchenko]? I mean, with all she’s accomplished. I would have loved to have a rematch with Amanda [Nunes]. But I feel like Julianna getting it done the way she did, you know, I got my fulfillment from that. And now I want to take out the other GOAT.”
Gunning for Schevchenko
Tate knows that with an impressive win, she could potentially leapfrog the entire division. After Schevchenko’s last win, she mentioned Tate as the next opponent, and that excited the former champion.
“I was very excited to hear her mention my name, because if the champion is going to say it, there’s definitely some value in it,” Tate said. “She definitely has some pull in whether she goes up to 135 and fights or stays right here at 125. So I want to make that statement and say that she has some work to be done in this division.”
But before any of this, Tate has to get through the always tough Lauren Murphy, who is coming off a flyweight title loss and is looking to rebound in a big way.
UFC Long Island goes down this Friday on ABC.