My Favorite Fight: Miesha Tate on Pettis/Bendo
As the former Strikeforce women's bantamweight champ prepares for her Octagon debut, "Cupcake" reflects on the scrap that made her want to be a better fighter: Benson Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis at WEC 53, a bout in which Pettis nabbed the lightweight strap from Bendo via flashy moves like his last-minute, now-infamous "Showtime kick."
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I was just watching it on TV and I remember thinking what an amazing pace both of them are putting on. Anthony does the most incredible unorthodox things, and Benson is such a trooper and he never gets tired.
I always find myself rooting for Benson because he's actually from my hometown. He's not a cocky guy. He's very grounded everywhere - mentally, physically, and spiritually. In that essence, I really look up to him.
Every fight that Benson puts on is always a jaw-dropping performance. I never really get used to it: I know what to expect, but he's always one step further or more advanced than he was last time. He seems to never get tired and seems impossible to finish. He's also an incredible scrambler.
One of the things I enjoy about Ben is that whether he is winning or losing, you can never tell. He never looks beaten, he never concedes to anything, he's just go-go-go. He can be in the worst position, but somehow he can manage to turn it around. He's an amazing athlete.
No matter what you do, he's still going to be coming for the win and he's still having fun while doing it. That's what it is supposed to be about.
[Pettis] is the unpredictable one. You never know what angle he is going to come at, so you have to be prepared for everything. He finishes a lot of people by catching them off guard. There's nothing cookie cutter about him. I admire that as well.
Being able to improvise in a fight when the pressure is on is not easy. A lot of people revert to what they're comfortable with -- you see someone get hit and then they go for a takedown because they're getting beat, but Anthony is not like that. It doesn't matter what you're doing, he's still thinking of some way to trick you or con you into thinking he's doing one thing and then head kick you and you're knocked out.
When I watch a fight that inspires me, it makes me become better. I don't think either one of them could have done more than what they did. I thought it was just an awesome performance and I think that's how everyone should strive to fight at this level.
I came down to the MMA Lab [Henderson's team] and I'm in Phoenix now. We do hard MMA sparring on Saturday, which is really cool because it mimics the fight. Two people spar at a time and everyone else sits around the cage and watches. Certain people will try to coach and give advice. My boyfriend [UFC fighter] Bryan Caraway is here, [BJJ/MMA coach] John Crouch is here and Benson is also yelling things to do while I'm in there.
I think every fighter wants to finish a fight as fast as they can, but with a top level competitor, it's really tough to do. It's hard to impose your will for 25 minutes and keep your physical in check and keep your emotions in check. As a fighter I really respect the people who can put on really amazing fights the fans appreciate, the fighters appreciate, the media appreciates, everyone appreciates. To me, that's the real accomplishment.