It’s one thing to win a world championship, it’s something else to defend it.
Now that “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holly Holm is the UFC women’s bantamweight champion, she has a large target on her back with everyone gunning for her, including former titleholder “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey. UFC President Dana White has said Rousey will get a rematch and Holm agreed to it, yet the Rowdy one has film commitments, as well as a potential six-month medical suspension, so it may be awhile before we see Holm vs. Rousey II.
If the UFC is looking to book Holm’s first title defense before Rousey is cleared, they could go with former Strikeforce world champion Miesha “Cupcake” Tate.
Tate recently pleaded her case in an interview with Fox Sports, saying she was Rousey’s biggest challenge before the former champion fought Holm.
“If Holly would beat me, then they could still set up that great rematch that they want between her and Ronda,” Tate said in the interview. “If I beat Holly then I’m 5-0 (in the UFC) and I beat the girl who beat Ronda, what better case could they ever make to have me fight Ronda again? I think that fight sells itself.”
Tate was the biggest challenge Rousey had faced, prior to Holm, in the sense that she was the first opponent to take the Rowdy one past the first round. Unlike Holm, Tate wasn’t able to take the title from Rousey. The former Strikeforce champion also brought up that she and Holm never fought each other.
There are several reasons Tate would fit the bill as Holm’s first opponent in her title reign. Tate is on a four-fight winning streak that includes victories over former title contenders Liz Carmouche and Sara Mcmann. She’s faced the most dangerous opponents throughout her MMA career. She can also take a lot of damage and come back strong, as we saw in her fight with Julie Kedzie. In terms of skill sets, Holm’s striking is far above Tate’s – because a boxer can hit harder than someone with MMA training, while Cupcake’s grappling would be a good test for The Preacher’s Daughter. Holm kept Rousey from keeping her on the ground for too long and managed to get out of a couple of sticky situations. While Tate is more of a wrestler, Holm has access to plenty of fighters with different grappling styles.
Tate’s UFC future has been up in the air. After the organization announced Rousey vs. Holm, Tate was vocal about getting passed over for a title shot – a title shot she supposedly earned after defeating Jessica Eye. The UFC’s reasoning was fans had seen Rousey vs. Tate twice – with Rousey coming out the winner – and wouldn’t be ready for a third. Tate has defeated every adversary the UFC put in front of her since her loss to Rousey in 2013. While Tate contemplated retirement before UFC 193, Holm’s title win seems to have reinvigorated her desire to compete.
A fight with Tate gives Holm a good challenge for her first defense in her UFC title reign. If she wins, it gives her another big name to add to her already impressive MMA fight resume. However, one could argue that Tate needs this fight more than Holm does.