Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate will make her first title defense on Saturday, March 3, when she faces Olympic judo medalist Ronda Rousey at “Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey” at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The main card will air live on Showtime and the prelims will air live on Showtime Extreme.
Tate and Rousey, along with March 3 lightweight co-headliners K.J. Noons and Josh Thompson, took part in a media conference call on Tuesday which was hosted by UFC and Strikeforce publicist Ryan Grab and Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker.
Listen to the complete audio below to hear all Tate, Rousey, Thomson and Noons had to say. You can download the audio to your hard drive by pressing play, then clicking “download”, or choose where to save it by right-clicking on “download” then clicking on “save as”.
Here are just a few notes and quotes from the call:
Undefeated North Carolina middleweight Derek Brunson, who was scheduled to fight former 185 pound champ Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, has been forced to withdraw from the bout after he failed his pre-fight medical exam. Coker indicated they are in search of a replacement and still expect “Jacare” to compete on the main card.
Tate still maintains her stance that she does not feel Rousey has done enough in her MMA career to warrant a title shot. However, Coker defended Strikeforce’s position.
“When you think about mixed martial arts, and quite frankly, you have to think about the entire scope of the athlete,” Coker said. “Ronda has been in the Olympics as you know two times. She’s probably had more mat work than any female mixed martial artist that I know of. And when you think about all the experience in the judo, all the experience in martial arts, all the experience in the Olympics, and put it together with the results, she’s beating girls that have had 15, 20 fights. So when you look at that, I mean, clearly she deserves a shot and we feel really good about it.”
Although Rousey has finished all seven of her MMA opponents via first round armbar (with the her longest fight taking 57 seconds), Tate said she is not too concerned about it. “I’m not really that worried about the armbar,” said Tate. I think the biggest mistake I can make is to only focus on what Ronda is going to do or what Ronda can do versus what I’m going to do and what I can do. I think it would be a big rookie mistake on my part to be training armbar defense every single day, because I’m not training to be in that position. I’m training to impose my will, my game plan, which absolutely does not involve ever being in an armbar. I’ve been really focused on implementing what I’m going to do and not being too worried about what she’s going to do, and being proactive instead of reactive, if that makes any sense.”
Asked if she felt obligated to amp up the smack talk to make this match-up more exciting, Rousey explained if making things a little more “interesting” could make her goals come to fruition faster, then so be it.
“I felt obligated to push for my case as much as possible,” Rousey said. “This day a year ago I was working three jobs and was struggling to train and do all this stuff, and I just wanted to be done with all that. I wanted to be able to support myself through fighting and I wanted to do it as quickly as possible. I didn’t want to sit around and do that for a few more years and slowly work my way up while telling everybody please and thank you’s and bowing my head. I knew that I could win the title the day that I started and the quickest I could get it the better. And if giving a couple more entertaining interviews than some of the other girls helps me out, then I’m going to do that.”