The past 12 months have been a whirlwind in the UFC women’s bantamweight division.
A year ago, Ronda Rousey was still atop the world as the division’s only UFC champion in history. Since then there have been three champions, and none of them have been able to defend the title. That has made the matchups in the deep division even more competitive and intriguing.
UFC 205 will see Miesha Tate fight Raquel Pennington at the fabled Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12. Tate lost the title to current champion Amanda Nunes and is about to begin her climb back up the bantamweight mountain.
The good news for Tate is that she’s already near the top and considering the fluid the state of the division, one or two big wins puts her right back in the title hunt.
For “Rocky” this is the biggest fight of her three-year run in the UFC.
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The former Ultimate Fighter competitor – ironically, as a member of Team Tate on Season 16 – Pennington has gone 5-2 with signature wins over Jessica Andrade and Bethe Correia. She lost a close decision to Holly Holm in the co-main event of UFC 184 and now has a chance to make a huge leap in the rankings with a win against Tate.
The matchup itself is an interesting one. Tate is arguably the best wrestler in the division, but Pennington is known for her grappling and toughness.
On the feet, Tate likely holds a small advantage but UFC president Dana White has been impressed with Pennington’s hands ever since she was on the Ultimate Fighter.
Now that Tate has tasted championship gold in the UFC, the appetite to reclaim her crown is likely stronger than ever.
At UFC 205 Tate takes her first step back toward the title, but Pennington will be looking to bring the fight to Tate in her biggest opportunity yet.
Matt Parrino is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MattParrinoUFC