Miesha Tate Defends Strikeforce Title vs. Ronda Rousey in March

Ronda Rousey

Women’s bantamweight title fight announced for Ohio

Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate will defend her title for the first time when she meets Ronda Rousey in March.

The rumored title fight was made official Saturday night by Strikeforce and Showtime on the broadcast of Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine. The fight will take place on March 3 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The promotion returns to the venue for the second straight year to coincide with The Arnold Sports Festival.

Tate won the 135-pound title against Marloes Coenen in July. Ironically, that was a fight that was pushed from last year’s Strikeforce event in Columbus when Tate suffered a training injury. Now she’ll fight there, but to defend her new belt.

But on Saturday’s Strikeforce broadcast, Tate was not shy about saying she doesn’t believe Rousey has yet earned a title shot against her. She believes former champ Sarah Kaufman has, though. Kaufman is the last fighter to beat Tate, who has since gone on a six-fight winning streak. There has been a good amount of back-and-forth between the three fighters on social media, making the potential for fireworks when any of the three of them are paired up.

“(There will be) more (fireworks than you’ve seen online). I can guarantee it – more,” Tate said about the fight with Rousey. “Honestly, I just don’t think she was next in line. I think she’s done great so far. She’s had a really impressive career. But I think she’s still new. She’s only a year into her career; I’m about six (years). Kaufman’s about six (years). Kaufman’s 14-1, I’m 12-2. We’re kind of veterans of the sport and coming in, (Rousey) kind of talked herself into a title fight. I’m going to be very excited to send her where she belongs, and that’s the back of the line.”

Rousey (4-0, 2-0 Strikef0rce) has been on a tear, winning all four of her fights by armbar submission, and all of them in less than a minute. In November, she submitted Julia Budd in 39 seconds on a Strikeforce Challengers show, and in her promotional debut in August, she submitted Sarah D’Alelio in just 25 seconds. Both of those fights were at 145 pounds, so she will drop to 135 to challenge Tate.

Tate (12-2, 5-1 Strikeforce) has four finishes in her six-fight winning streak, including a fourth-round submission of Coenen to win the title in July. She was a high school wrestler and trains at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, Calif., with the likes of Urijah Faber, Joseph Benavidez and her longtime boyfriend, UFC fighter Bryan Caraway.

Even though the Tate-Rousey fight is one Tate thinks should wait, at least until Rousey has some more wins under her belt, Zuffa president Dana White on Saturday said he’s excited for the fight.

“I’m very much (looking forward to it),” White told Showtime play-by-play man Mauro Ranallo. “Two talented fighters, and I say it all the time: Mixed martial arts is so respectful and everybody loves each other. But when they don’t, it makes it a lot more fun. And I’m really looking forward to that fight.”

Tate-Rousey is likely to take co-main event positioning on the card. Though a main event has not yet been announced, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker has said the promotion is targeting that date for the heavyweight tournament finals between Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier. Cormier is awaiting clearance to fight for a broken hand.