Miesha Tate earned a title shot with her big tournament win last week, second from the top on an exciting Strikeforce Challengers card. In an ode to the UFC's of yore, Tate fought twice on a single night, beating Maiju Kujala and Hitomi Akano, both by unanimous decision, to earn a shot at the Strikeforce title at 135 pounds.
"It feels too good to be true," Tate told Ring Psychology in an exclusive interview. "I can't believe it's happening. All the hard work is paying off. I knew it would, but to actually get there and do it, and accomplish goals-it's just a wonderful feeling."
It was a triumphant performance for Tate, but not a perfect one. She and many of the fans were unhappy with a return to three minute rounds. After years of struggling with athletic commissions around the country, Strikeforce was finally able to give fans female fights with five minute rounds in the summer of 2009. For one night only at least, the dreaded three minute round was back.
"I didn't like the three minutes either, especially with the first (fight) being just two three minutes," Tate said. "To be honest, it really isn't enough time, no matter what style you're fighting, to do anything. To work for a finish which I kind of like to do...I was reading online afterwards that people were saying it favored the wrestler, the shorter rounds, but not necessarily. Because then you don't have as much time to get a takedown. We were all in the same boat and it wasn't ideal."
Although some were quick to blame the promotion, Tate says it was actually the athletic commission that decided to play it safe with shorter rounds.
"It wasn't really Strikeforce's deal," Tate revealed. "It was more the Arizona Athletic Commission. They kind of freaked out about the tournament at the last minute. They had to make some adjustments and that's what they came up with in order for the tournament to happen."
Tate is not only hoping she'll get another chance at Sarah Kaufman (who will first defend her belt against Marloes Coenen) but she's also keen to challenge for the title on one of Strikeforce's main shows. On this week's Ring Psychology, Tate explained why she thought it would be better to open a bigger show than to main event the smaller Challengers show.
"Headlining a card is kind of significant, no matter how big or small, because you're considered to be the main draw," Tate said. "So that's always nice. But if I had to choose at this point in my career, I'd want to be one of the opening fights on a more main(stream) card. Because I'm looking to constantly improve. And no matter how you look at it, the Challengers is a step down from a regular Strikeforce card and a huge step down from a CBS card. So I would rather be the opening act of a bigger card than the finale of a small card."
Tate also talked about her upcoming project with Frank Shamrock, why women have to pay their dues, and why it is necessary to promote women fighters differently than their male counterparts. Also on the show this week were Strikeforce Light Heavyweight champion Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal and Head Kick Legend's Fraser Coffeen. Download the program from I-Tunes or listen streaming with our partners at Angry Marks.