LAS VEGAS – Miesha Tate is back.
The former UFC and Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion successfully made her return to MMA competition, scoring a third-round TKO win over veteran Marion Reneau (9-8-1 MMA, 5-7-1 UFC) in the co-main event of Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 26.
Tate (19-7 MMA, 6-4 UFC) hadn’t competed in five years, as she walked away from the sport in 2016. But being one of the bigger names in women’s MMA, the 34-year-old caught the attention of many with her comeback win. Former champion Holly Holm took to Instagram to call for a rematch with “Cupcake.”
Tate, who defeated Holm to become champion back in March 2016, is down to run things back with Holm but also wants to keep her options open.
“They’re all fair game, they can all get it, respectfully,” Tate told reporters at the UFC on ESPN 26 post-fight press conference. “I expect them to come out of the woodwork. I think a second fight with Holly, it’d be great.
“There’s a lot of women in the division, so name them all. I don’t know where I’ll come in the rankings right now, but you know I’m never one to say I deserve this or that. I understand I have to continue to climb. But whoever’s name is on that list to get to the top, that’s fine with me. And I’m sure Holly and I, I have no doubt about it, her and I will fight again.”
UFC on ESPN 26 results: Ex-UFC champion Miesha Tate stops Marion Reneau in MMA return
Tate looked impressive in her return. She’s confident the best has yet to come in her storied career, as she feels the MMA world hasn’t seen her full potential.
“This is why I couldn’t stay retire, I felt like I had so much more to give and there’s truly a better version of myself,” Tate explained. “I didn’t want to leave thinking I didn’t put my best foot forward.”
As far as a return date, Tate looks to fight once again in 2021. She’s unsure of who will make sense next, but she does want her next opponent to be a progression to the UFC title, which Amanda Nunes currently holds.
“I want to let this victory settle, I don’t want to be in a rush, but of course I’m a woman on a mission,” Tate said. “I do want to get to the top. I think a fight by the end of the year is reasonable. I’m going to go home kiss my babies, enjoy this hard-earned victory, and in the next few weeks, my management and my team we’ll re-group and we’ll talk to Mick, Sean, Dana and we’ll get something lined up.”