Raquel Pennington’s win at UFC 205 was a passing of the torch of sorts.
She defeated former women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate, who coached “Rocky” on The Ultimate Fighter 18 three years ago, in the opening fight on the pay-per-view main card. The UFC’s debut in New York City marked Pennington’s biggest win to date as she transitioned from arguably the dark-horse of the division to contender. It also signaled the end of the road for Tate, who retired suddenly in her post-fight interview after her second consecutive loss.
Pennington had nothing but praise for her ex-coach after the bout. Although, she did criticize Tate’s decision to step away from the sport off a loss.
“If she’s going to go out with retirement, I wouldn’t necessarily agree with the fact of going out with a loss,” Pennington said in a post-fight scrum (via Submission Radio). “But Miesha has nothing to keep her head down about. She has every reason to keep her head high. Everyone says how Ronda (Rousey) is the face of women’s MMA, but I believe that Miesha belongs up there, too. She’s done some wonderful things, she’s put on some phenomenal performances. This card, it’s a huge opportunity, making history. If this is the card that she wanted to finish on, then all my respect.”
There is usually an asterisk beside the word retirement when a mixed martial artist hangs up the gloves, because it seems that more often that not, fighters who retire end up returning — months or possibly years later.
Pennington isn’t so sure if that Tate’s retirement is permanent.
“She says that it’s her retirement right now, and a lot of people do get emotional during that time. But there’s no saying that she wouldn’t come back in a couple months from now or change her mind,” she said. “I mean, it’s not set in stone with anything. Everybody kind of says that all the time, they’re like, ‘You know, we’re retiring.’ I think all of us say it. We go through a lot of emotions, and we have a terrible performance, or right before we get ready to walk out, we go through all these emotions, and it’s always everybody’s last fight. We’re like, ‘We’re done after this. We can’t do this anymore.’ So there’s no saying.”