Miesha “Takedown” Tate has come a long way in her short mixed martial arts career. The standout wrestler is the current holder of the Freestyle Cage Fighting Women’s Bantamweight Championship and now has her eyes set on capturing Strikeforce title gold in the future.
As she prepares to enter a Strikeforce cage for the third time at Strikeforce Challengers 7 on March 26th, Tate has engaged in a battle of words with opponent Zoila “The Warrior Princess” Frausto. Tate discusses her career and her upcoming fight in this exclusive interview with MMARising.com.
Miesha Tate debuted in mixed martial arts in the one-night HOOKnSHOOT Women’s Grand Prix in 2007. The Tacoma, Washington native suffered a tough loss that night when she was defeated by Kaitlin Young, but used the fight as inspiration. She has since become one of the top female bantamweights in the sport and is the current FCF Women’s Champion at 135 pounds. Having already engaged in a spirited battle with Strikeforce champ Sarah Kaufman, Miesha seeks a rematch down the line, but remains focused on her upcoming fight with talented striker Zoila Frausto.
MMARising.com: Hi, Miesha. Thank you for taking time for this interview. To begin, can you tell us a bit about your background in wrestling and what first drew you to mixed martial arts?
Miesha Tate: I started wrestling in high school when I was a freshman with no prior experience. It was pretty eye-opening, but I loved it! Then I joined an MMA sport club at Central Washington University run by my now-boyfriend Bryan Caraway. I immediately fell in love with the sport and I’ve been here ever since!
MMARising.com: You have faced tough competition throughout your career, including in your pro MMA debut at the infamous HOOKnSHOOT Women’s Grand Prix tournament in 2007. Has this heightened level of competition driven you to work even harder as your career progresses?
Miesha: Absolutely, no doubt about that. I learned a lot in the beginning and I’m still learning as I go, but I’m finally getting the hang of it!
MMARising.com: Your boyfriend, Bryan, is a former EliteXC title challenger and currently competes in the WEC, and he has cornered you for many of your fights. When he is shouting advice and encouragement from your corner, how much of an added motivation is it to perform at your best?
Miesha: Bryan has really been my backbone thoughout my MMA career. I really feel fortunate to have someone like him behind me. He’s an incredible teacher and I give him credit for most of my MMA knowledge because he’s always teaching me something, lol! It’s great to have him in my corner because he knows exactly what to tell me and when to tell me. He’s the perfect motivator!
MMARising.com: As Bryan is also a fast-rising prospect in MMA, has he offered you any words of wisdom as you both continue to grow your careers?
Miesha: Oh yeah, he’s been doing MMA for almost twice as long as me, so he has a lot of insight to offer and I’m thankful for that. He’s saved me from some bumps along the way and guided me very well to where I’m at today in my career.
MMARising.com: With your extensive wrestling background, you are widely regarded as one of the best wrestlers (if not the best) in the women’s division and your takedowns are often just as explosive as many of your male counterparts. Do you continue to train heavily in wrestling or are you more focused on developing the other aspects of your game?
Miesha: I do it all, to be honest. I practice my wrestling every day inside of MMA. It’s nice to stay in touch with a sport that I love so dearly. I always isolate different aspects of my game and work on those for a while and then I implement it all back into MMA as a whole, so that of course goes for my wrestling as well!
MMARising.com: Some fans first became familiar with you as the recipient of the vicious head-kick knockout from Kaitlin Young at the HOOKnSHOOT tournament in 2007. Whereas some fighters would simply give up after a loss like that, you not only persevered but have quickly become one of the top bantamweights in women’s MMA. How tough was it to bounce back after that fight?
Miesha: Well, it hurt my pride a little to be honest, but not my heart. I’ve got a big heart for this sport and no one can take that away from me, so I take the losses with the wins and I do my best to learn from them. I have what it takes inside to become a world champion already and I know that. I just need to continue to develop the skills to back it up!
MMARising.com: You went on to capture the Freestyle Cage Fighting Women’s Bantamweight Championship and are currently one of the top contenders to newly-crowned Strikeforce Champion Sarah Kaufman. Looking back, did you believe that you would reach this level of success so early in your career?
Miesha: No, I had no idea that I could/would become this successful in the sport. I mean, I knew it was something that I loved and that I wanted to be the best at it, but I had no idea when I started that, three years down the road, I would be on such a platform to showcase my skills. Strikeforce is a dream come true, really; more than I could have imagined!