Miesha Tate never used the word regret, but she definitely learned a valuable (and painful) lesson in her first and only weight cut to 125 pounds.
A lifelong bantamweight and former UFC and Strikeforce 135-pound champ, Tate, 37, tried the flyweight division after a disappointing loss to Ketlen Vieira in her second post-retirement fight. She suffered a lopsided loss to Lauren Murphy in July 2022 and didn’t book another fight until booking a matchup against Julia Avila at UFC Austin.
Looking back, Tate admits the move to 125 pounds was probably a bad idea.
“I don’t think most people realize how difficult any of this is,” Tate said during UFC Austin media day. “Most people can’t even stick to a normal diet. They say ‘Oh, I want to lose some weight,’ and they’re not even willing or able to do that.
“So I think for an athlete to shave muscle off of their body, it’s very difficult, and it feels terrible actually. It’s like this burning feeling in your body. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s like your muscle just being liquified. It’s not a very nice feeling. Easier said than done.”
Tate said her arduous weight cut also took a lot of time, because despite a mere 10-pound difference between divisions, she really didn’t have any wiggle room for failure. Her body suffered as a result, and the same could be said for her performance against Murphy.
“Making 125 [pounds], I’m proud of myself,” Tate said. “It just goes to show when I set my mind to something, I can do it, because that was not easy. It took months and months and months of dieting, and I’m already pretty lean at 135, so to get down to 125 meant I just had to strip muscle off of my body. There really wasn’t much room to play with body fat. So it ended up not being a good thing for me. Hormonally, I had some complications, and I was just too lean for a female, so I think 135 is where it’s at.
“I may not be the biggest 135-pound female out there, but I don’t think I need to be the biggest to be the best. I feel good, and I know what I’m capable of when I feel good.”
Tate feels better than ever for her fight against Avila, and while her record reads as two losses in a row, she knows the botched move to flyweight accounts for one of those defeats. The other came in a razor-close decision to bantamweight contender Ketlen Vieira, so she doesn’t exactly feel like her back is against the wall.
“Look, 125 was an experiment,” Tate said. “On my record, yes I know that it says I lost that fight, and I did lose that fight, but it was an experiment. It wasn’t the right decision for me, so I kind of look at my career as a 135’er and just say, look, 125 it was an error. I wouldn’t know how I’d do there unless I tried it. I did it, and I didn’t like it. So back to 135.
“Since my return, I’ve had one very dominant win and finish, and I had a very close decision [loss] in my second fight back for five rounds in a main event against a top five ranked fighter [in Ketlen Vieira] after five years of not doing anything. I think if that doesn’t speak to volumes of how close I am to still being one of the best in the world, then maybe people are being a bit short-sighted and just looking at a piece of paper. I really think my second to last fight really could have gone either way. I think it was very close. Very close.”
Tate, who headlines the UFC Austin prelims, expects to get the job done against Avila. That will put her right back on track as one of the best bantamweights in the promotion.
“I’m still there,” Tate said. “I’m still competing very closely with the best women in the division.”