Miesha Tate on her career, the Kaufman vs Modafferi fight, and Strikeforce

Miesha Tate (9-2 MMA, 2-1 SF) will be fighting in the one-night Strikeforce 135-pound women’s tournament on August 13, 2010 at ShoMMA 10:  Riggs vs. Taylor.  Miesha has been in the game for a while now and has defeated tough opponents like Jan Finney, Elaina Maxwell, Valerie Coolbaugh, and Zoila Frausto, the newest member of the Bellator Season 3 115-pound tournament.

In this interview with ProMMAnow.com contributor and Wfighter.com administrator Tami Carswell, Miesha shares a tough lesson learned in her first amateur MMA fight, her commitment to Strikeforce, her plans for the future, her viewpoints on the title fight between Roxanne Modafferi and 135 title holder Sarah Kaufman, and more:

TC – Who would you most like to fight out there?

MT – The girls that I would like to fight are the women out there that are going to get me ranked higher.  Those women that are ranked higher than myself.  I would like to get a shot at a rematch with Sarah Kaufman or whoever holds the title.  I want to have tough fights and fight a fighter ranked above me.

TC – How did it go for you with your last fight against Frausto?

MT – It went really well for me.  I kind of expected it to go to the second round.  She had a lot of energy and fought really well in the first round.  She was sort of sporadic and not that easy to control.  She was charging really hard during the fight so I did really well in the first round at wearing her down.  In the second round I really capitalized on my submissions and I had to change into different positions to finally get her in that arm bar.  I think they really wore her out as well and that was another reason the submission was there.

TC – Tell me a little bit about that changes going on in your life right now.

MT – Right now I am in Sacramento but I’m looking for a location in San Jose.  That is where Strikeforce is based out of and I want to be a little bit closer to that, more about promoting myself, and more involved in that part of the fight game.  They have a lot going on in San Jose.  Right now I am in Sacramento training at Ultimate Fitness but I’m looking for a residency in San Jose.

TC – Who are you looking at to train with in the San Jose area?

MT – I like the standup training at AKA and I’m really looking for some one-on-one training in jui jitsu with Dave Camarillo also out of AKA.  In San Francisco, which is kind of a hop and a skip away, there are good competitors that I can train with too.

TC – Describe a typical training regimen for you?  A typical training week for you when you’re training for a fight and when you’re not.

MT – When I am not training for a fight I usually have one training in the evening.  We train some and roll some jui jitsu.  I go for some jogs and just do some maintenance training in the morning.  When we get a fight lined up things get a little bit more intense.  In the morning I get up and do conditioning with my boyfriend Bryan Caraway.  He is constantly changing it up.  He’ll throw in different exercises, do different sprints with me and then we’ll do three rounds of five minutes sparring full on MMA.  Then we will go to fight practice later on in the evening.  I do 40 minutes or so of technique and then train and spar for the rest of the evening. In the  morning class we basically do an hour and a half and in the evening we do 40 minutes of technique and then another hour and a half of training.  When we are up here we go to practice about 9:30 in the morning to about 11.  Some drills and shadowboxing that type of stuff followed by conditioning and sparring.  Then we come back about 3:00p.m. for kickboxing, boxing, and sparring.

TC – What is your ultimate goal of your career?  Where do you want to be at the end of the game?

MT – My ultimate goal obviously is to be ranked number one in the world and be at the top of my weight class.  I want to be the best of the best and beat the best of the best.  Right now my short term goal is I want to fight somebody who everybody else feels is better than me.  I want that opportunity to show that I’m better now.  That I can hang with those high in the ranks.  I’m finally ranked in the top 10 and that just makes me more eager to get going.  To be number one, to capture the Strikeforce title and hold it for as long as possible.  I would really like a rematch with Sarah Kaufman regardless.  If by the time I get around to fighting her she is the titleholder or not.  I would just like to fight her again.  It would sweeten the deal if it was for the belt.

TC – In this upcoming fight between Sarah and Roxanne what are your thoughts on how it might go down?

MT –It’s going to be a really competitive fight.  Roxanne is awesome and I think Sarah Kaufman is awesome.  The only thing is that I think that Roxanne has this strong grappling background but I don’t think she’ll be able to get it to the ground.  It is going to be a striking battle.  Kaufman is really really really strong and I think it is going to be a matter of who has more confidence on their feet. You know Roxanne is known for being a grappler but she’s got some mean striking and she is definitely not afraid to stand and to trade.  The fight will be on their feet.  If I really had to pick one I will probably pick Kaufman.  I would not be surprised at all if Roxane pulls a win out though.

TC – Describe what has been your greatest influence in getting into this sport and what keeps you going?

MT – I would say my biggest influence into getting into this sport would be Bryan.  We met at the club sport where I was going to college and I did not know what mma was when I met him.  He inspired me because I saw his heart and his passion and love for the sport. It kind of made me fall in love with the sport.  And because I really understand the competitive aspect firsthand I was able to practice what I saw.  That competitor inside of me started coming out from my wrestling background.  That passion was so easily translated for me into mma.  I find Bryan really inspiring.  He really pushes me a lot and when I am tired and sore he tells me, “I don’t care you’ve got to do it anyways”.  He is just really motivating and he helps me stay on track to be the best athlete that I can be so.

TC – How did it come that you choose this as your profession?

MT – I grew up kind of a Tom boy.  I always had this feminine side but I liked doing the activities that the boys were doing.  I always had sticks and dirt in my hair because I was always outside playing with the boys.  Sports, flag football, or you name it.  So I always grew up that way.  I started the wrestling thing in high school almost randomly because I was bored and couldn’t play basketball.  It wasn’t uncomfortable for me because like I said my friends were all guys and I was outdoorsy.  So I kind of felt right at home.  When I got to Central Washington University I found out about club sport.  A friend of mine told me about it.  Before that I did not know what it was all about in.  I did not know about the UFC or any cage fighting at all.  So I had no clue.  It was totally not what I thought.  I thought it was going to be something where like you learned to karate chop or something like that.  I was pleasantly surprised. I was so much into wrestling that I just ran with it.  Then I went to my very first fight card and I got to see Bryan fight.  I had been training a little bit and I got to see them fight that night.  It put a fire in me and I wanted to do it as well.  When I first started I didn’t want to do any contact and I thought the wrestling part of it was cool.  I just didn’t want to get punched in the face.  That night I was like wow this is really good and if they can do it I can do it.  At the fight card the ref announced that there was going to be an all-female fight card two weeks from then and he asked if there were any females who wanted to sign up.  He said they should come down and talk to him.  I told him that I wrestled a little bit in high school and that this would be my first fight.  It felt so fantastic and I went out there that night against a kickboxer.  I was still a complete wrestler at that point.  I had trained some in standup and in jui jitsu but pretty much still a wrestler.  I took her down and pretty much held her down for the first round.  I almost forgot that you could even strike and I was trying to out wrestle her and not get caught in submissions.  In the second round she threw a couple of punches and got me into a muay tight clinch.  Then I went for a double leg and she kneed me in the face twice.  It broke my nose and pretty much shattered it.  There was so much blood all over the place  and I was like “really?”.  I could not believe it was happening.  I got really pissed off and started taking her down again and the end of the second round I needed to re group you know because I never had anything like that happen to me.  It did not make me want to stop, it just fired me up to want to physically kill her.  I was so mad.  It was like an awakening. For me I was like wow this sport can be very dangerous and I thought to be serious about it you need to be serious about it.  I looked inside myself and saw that I had a serious passion for it.  When I was out there I just kept fighting even harder and I’m still that way.  The more you hurt me the more I will fight.  It’s just kind of the way I am.  I never just thought I would quit.  I don’t quit.  If you are choking me or punching me whatever I’m still going to be coming at you no matter what.  You are going to have to force me to stop either knock me out or choke me unconscious.  I don’t even consider that quitting that just means you beat me.  I will never quit no matter what.  That was my first amateur fight and now I’m nine and two as a professional.  I fight for Strikeforce and right now it’s happening.  Things are going really well.

TC – What are your thoughts on women’s mma?  Where it is and where it is going?

MT – Right now I think we still are behind the curve.  Everybody is comparing us to men’s mma.  You’ve got to realize that the men in mma have had much more time training, learning, and fighting in this sport.  They have had longer to do it than women.  I mean we’re just coming into it.  My career is only three years long and not to be full of myself but look how far I have come in three years. It’s pretty amazing and a lot of these women are only a year into their career.  They are being compared to men who are 15, 20, 10 years into their career.  We are phenomenal athletes, really come on give us a break.  There are many of us training really hard and there’s more women coming out of the woodwork every day.  I just think we are making leaps and bounds.  I don’t think we have had all the opportunities yet to show how many of us are out there.  You give us a couple years and just imagine where we might be.

TC – What else do you want to let our readers know?

MT – The main thing I think for women is don’t think that just because you are a woman you can’t do certain things.  Don’t let that mentality hold you back because there are a lot of men out there that I’ve choked out that thought they would never be choked out by a female.  That’s just the reality of it.  I have done a lot with my career and I didn’t listen to everybody telling me that I could not do it or wouldn’t do it because I’m a female.  You just have to believe in yourself.  It doesn’t matter who you are it’s just important that you have 100% confidence in yourself, train hard, and believe in yourself.

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