Miesha Tate feels balanced, that elusive state of being many claim to desire but do little to achieve. For the 37-year-old Tate, “balance” is the buzzword ahead of her fight against Julia Avila at UFC Fight Night: Dariush vs Tsarukyan.
She tapped into the mental coach the UFC offers, and the mother of two feels like she is reaping the benefits of strengthening her mindset, as well as her body.
“Being present, it's such a difficult thing to do, right?” Tate told UFC.com. “We run around, and we have all these demands, and then we have computers and phones and all these things that are constantly inundating our brains with being anywhere else but right here, right now. And this is a skill set that I feel like I've really acquired and worked really hard for over the past year. I've never been better in the moment than right now.”
In short, Tate feels like she has more of an effort-based mindset instead of one predicated on the outcome of her fights. Easing that pressure off herself allowed her to find a better flow and energy throughout camp, and she plainly feels great before her first fight since July 2022.
That bout, a unanimous decision loss to Lauren Murphy, was Tate’s flyweight debut that turned into more of a cameo at the weight class rather than a full-fledged move. Welcoming the former champ back to 135 pounds is the 9-2 Julia Avila. “The Raging Panda” is coming off a two-year layoff of her own during which she gave birth to a daughter.
From what Tate watched of Avila, she found her nickname fitting and expects an aggressive approach from her opponent. Of Avila’s nine professional wins, six came before the final bell, including a 22-second knockout of Gina Mazany. Tate also knows what it’s like to take a step back from competition and raise a family, so she anticipates a different Avila, as well.
“I remember when I took five years off and I had two kids, I came back totally different,” Tate said. “To be honest, I'm actually prepared for her to have a totally different stance, a totally different look, a totally different attitude, a mama-bear killer instinct. She could be anything and all of those things, but I truly believe I've prepared for everything for this fight because there's a lot that could be unknown.”
Per usual, Tate sees her advantage in the wrestling department, but she admits she fell in love with striking in her last few fights. Looking at Avila’s lone UFC loss, which came against Sijara Eubanks, Avila struggled to stay off her back and get back to her feet. Seeing that, Tate knew it was time to get back to her “foundation.” Tate also believes Avila isn’t a standout in any particular area, but she respects her well-rounded skill set.
Title talk is usually on the mind for Tate. It’s why she came out of retirement in July 2021, but after back-to-back losses, the former bantamweight champion is taking it one step at a time. Avila is only one spot below her in the bantamweight rankings, so this fight doesn’t necessarily move Tate up the ladder, but it does stop her descent in the wide-open division. Tate isn’t thinking big-picture right now, though, instead keeping to her camp-long focus of staying present.
Miesha Tate | Road To The Gold
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Miesha Tate | Road To The Gold
“I feel a bit shortsighted right now,” she said. “I'm really just looking forward to Saturday. I'm so happy to be here in this fight week. It feels like everything is coming together and just the way that I wanted it to, and I genuinely feel like I'm going to go out there and win on Saturday. I feel like this is already written in the stars, but I have to go out there and do that.”
Fighting is just one part of Tate’s life now. It might be the driving force behind the rest of the opportunities she has available to her, but winning or losing no longer dominates her headspace. She plans to enjoy the environment in Austin, Texas, including checking out some children’s museums and taking in some world-famous food once the business is handled on December 2.
Whether she snaps her two-fight skid or finds herself looking at an uphill battle to get back to contention, Tate’s goals aren’t changing.
“I'm going to continue to make a difference in the world and give back and do all these great things that I want to do. So, look, it's one day that I've invested a lot of time and energy into. I certainly want to win, but it doesn't define who I am.”
UFC Fight Night: Dariush vs Tsarukyan took place live from Moody Center in Austin, Texas on December 2, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!