Lauren Murphy wanted to ‘be the spoiler’ against Miesha Tate at UFC Long Island this past Saturday. And she got exactly what she wanted.
‘Lucky’ returned to the Octagon following her fourth-round TKO loss to Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 266 in September. Her next assignment was against Tate, the former champion moving from bantamweight to flyweight for the first time in her professional career. It felt as though all eyes were on ‘Cupcake,’ who hoped to defeat the one-time title challenger in what would be the ’statement of her career’ thus far.
Murphy dashed that hope with a unanimous decision over Tate. Aggressive from start to finish, she battered her opponent with punches and elbows and thwarted takedown attempts over three rounds. The judges saw the fight in her favor, awarding Murphy 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 on the scorecards.
“I feel good,” said Murphy during her post-fight press conference (video provided by MMA Fighting). “I feel good that I was able to take her down, feel good about the elbows I landed. It felt good that she couldn’t take me down. Soon as my butt hit the ground, I was right back up. I wrestled hard. I stayed focused. A lot of the stuff that we did in practice happened tonight, and it just feels good to come back and get a win over a former champion.
“Nobody’s going to walk over me in this division,” continued Murphy. “And like I said in the [Octagon] interview, when I’m healthy and I’m focused, I’m a force.”
The win over Tate was unsurprising to Murphy. Sure, she entered the fight as an underdog, a role she has grown accustomed to throughout her career.
But the 38-year-old had no doubt she would get her hand raised.
“There’s been big victories that I’ve had where I’m almost in disbelief, like, ‘Oh, I can’t believe I won that. That’s f—king amazing,” said Murphy. “And right now, I feel like, ‘Yeah, I won that because I’m a badass. I’m a bad motherf—ker. I should’ve [won that].’ I had the ability to win fights like that, and I feel like I’m right where I belong.”
Murphy would prefer a No. 1 contender fight against the winner of Jéssica Andrade and Manon Fiorot in her next appearance. However, with ‘Bate Estaca’ now out vs. Fiorot, Katlyn Chookagian has agreed to step in. The ‘Blonde Fighter’ has a win over Murphy, who she bested by decision in her promotional debut at UFC Fight Night: McDonald vs. Lineker over six years ago.