Written by Staff Writer
Miesha Tate was crowned Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion during an historic three-round boxing match against Ronda Rousey in January. Her opponent, who had beaten Rousey twice in the past, also beat Tate in 2008.
But after seven years of training, training others, training with fierce determination and the will to win, she was victorious on all three occasions.
I spoke to Miesha Tate following the event to find out what makes a champion and what she’s trying to do to give back to the victims of domestic violence.
Tate has the discipline to prepare for a fighting event for years before the bout; how have you made it a habit to stay disciplined and how did you get to this level?
For me, I remember waking up in the morning and saying ‘yes’ 100 times. I wanted to be involved in something. I saw it as important and fun. I wasn’t very good at school — I was a D student at one point. I always want to feel like I can do a good job and do it well.
The undefeated Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight champion Miesha Tate. Credit: Joel Ryan/Invision/AP
What does success mean to you, in terms of boxing and MMA?
Success is making an impact on someone, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a winner’s track. Even winning UFC [Ultimate Fighting Championship] is a risk. I could lose, but it shows I’m a fighter.
How do you deal with adversity and overcome obstacles in your life?
I’ve been through a lot of things in my life. My dad went to prison and left my mom. I remember me wondering what it would be like to be left alone in the world. I’ve been bullied and had people call me names, but my mind-set was, “I’m strong enough to get over these things.”
Miesha Tate celebrates her recent victory over Ronda Rousey in January. Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
My dad is a great man and I appreciate the father that he has been for me. It has impacted my life in a positive way, and I know I will never let anyone hurt me. I knew that I was strong enough to beat people who thought differently.
When my dad was fighting, he always said to me that in combat, the mind-set is to not think, to just go in there and kill the other guy. It was a motivator for me. My dad was the first man that told me to fight. I’m proud to be fighting for him now and for everyone who has stood up for me.
What have you learned about life that you didn’t know before?
The great thing about life is that you are given new opportunities. I’ve learned that I have to work for everything, no matter how small it is. My parents told me that it will help me achieve a better goal. This also led me to believe that my dreams could be achieved and people could support me.
What motivates you the most?
Passion: I’m a very passionate person. Even going into training you look around and there’s things you could be doing instead. I’m like a kid with a new toy. I like seeing people smile. I’m a happy person and always willing to give someone a hug or to give praise.
I want my fans to believe in me. I want them to appreciate what I’ve done. I want people to know that even if I’m fighting the worst girl on the roster, that I’m still a very, very good fighter.