Posted 04/20/2014 by McKinley Noble in MMA in Florida

UFC on Fox 11 Results: Miesha Tate is WMMA’s Unsung Superstar

Miesha “Cupcake” Tate is undeniably the second-most popular female fighter in the UFC.

If that much wasn’t already clear by Internet chatter, countless photoshoots, main event roles, magazine spreads, and her surge in popularity as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter, then you could hear it loud and clear in Florida during fight week for UFC on Fox 11.

Tate wasn’t even the main event, this time playing the A-side of a co-main bout against fellow title challenger Liz Carmouche.

But as Carmouche did her best to grind out a decision against the former Strikeforce champion, you could definitely hear whom the crowd favored:

“Miesha! Miesha! Miesha! Miesha! Miesha!”

In retrospect, it’s nothing short of impressive that Tate’s remained so popular. Despite losing to bitter rival Ronda Rousey twice—first in a barnburner and then in a disastrous ass-kicking of a rematch—Tate’s fanbase seems to have only grown under the bright lights of the UFC and Fox Sports. She’s even popular enough to the point that well-known heavyweight contenders can’t overshadow her.

Based on this poll data, the UFC could sell Miesha Tate vs. Donald Cerrone on PPV and make millions of dollars.

Based on this poll data, the UFC could sell Miesha Tate vs. Donald Cerrone on PPV and make millions of dollars.

Ironically, Tate owes a lot of this to Rousey, even though the champion’s taken so much away from her.

After all, so many years spent feuding with “Rowdy” has clearly rubbed off, arguably making a standalone superstar out of Tate in the long run. If vagrant actress Gina Carano defined women’s MMA, the Rousey vs. Tate saga further cemented it. Although certain comparisons to Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier are ham-fisted at best, there’s little argument that Tate is at least the Vegeta to Rousey’s Goku or (most realistically) the Sasha Cohen to Rousey’s Michelle Kwan.

It also doesn’t hurt that both women possess the right assets for stardom:

  • Supermodel looks
  • Distinctly polarizing personalities
  • Large, dedicated fanbases
  • High-level, world-class athletic skills
  • That “It Factor”

Hence, it’s little surprise that of all Rousey’s defeated contenders, Tate’s profile has risen the highest.

But unfortunately, no matter what Miesha Tate does for the rest of her career, the history books are pretty much closed.

For all Tate’s achievements, she’ll never be the first female fighter to sign a UFC contract.

She’ll also never be the first woman to headline a UFC card (Rousey), nor the first female UFC title challenger (Carmouche), first female fighter in a UFC video game (Erica Montoya, actually), first UFC women’s co-main event (Alexis Davis and Carmouche), and not even the first woman to lose a fight in the Octagon (Carmouche, again).

At this point, all Tate can claim is making her mark as the B-side in the first-ever TUF headlined by female coaches and a co-ed cast.

And she'll always be the third-ever female MMA fighter to do ESPN's Body Issue. That's kinda historic. (H/T ESPN)

And she’ll always be the third-ever female MMA fighter to do ESPN‘s Body Issue. That’s kinda historic. (H/T ESPN)

Perhaps if she had never lost to Rousey, Tate would’ve had some of those bigger accolades.

But in what can only be a bittersweet victory for the twice-beaten challenger, “Cupcake” comes out of UFC on Fox 11 with only her very first win in the promotion and a steady spot in her division’s pecking order.

So, what now?

Normally, one would assume a third shot at Rousey is out of the question, but far more ridiculous title shots have been granted by the UFC lately. Heck, Tate got her own UFC title shot after a loss to (assumed) number-one contender Cat Zingano.

Plus, with Dana White and matchmaker Joe Silva short on PPV draws this year, all Tate really needs is one convincing victory to get herself back in the mix.

In an age of interchangeable MMA fighters, Miesha Tate is now one of the UFC’s biggest stars, and she’s clearly not going anywhere yet.


McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist. His work has appeared in NVisionBleacher Report, PC World, Macworld, GamePro, 1UP, MMA Mania and The L.A. Times. Follow him at @KenTheGreat1 on Twitter.

McKinley Noble