All overused, yet all applicable to one of the legendary women of MMA who abruptly announced her final goodbye at “The World’s Most Famous Arena” at the center of the biggest event in the sport’s history.
It was the most shocking turn of events at the record-breaking UFC 205 at MSG on Saturday, November 12, and it came at the beginning of the Pay Per View portion of the fight card.
Former UFC and Strikeforce Bantamweight Champion Miesha Tate (18-7) came up shorthanded against Raquel Pennington (9-5), who won by a comfortable decision, marking a fourth consecutive victory for the blossoming Colorado native.
And also marking Tate’s instant retirement just one fight removed from entering UFC 200 as the Bantamweight champion before losing to current champ Amanda Nunes via a first-round submission following a series of devastating punches.
“I’m announcing my retirement, you guys,” said Tate immediately after the fight, stunning the MSG faithful. “I love y’all so much. I’ve been doing this for over a decade. Thank you so much for being here. I love this sport forever, but it’s not my time anymore. It’s the future’s time.
“It’s because of the result,” Tate continued candidly. “I had a lot more to give but I couldn’t pull it out of myself. It’s been a long time, I’ve taken a lot of punishment.”
Leading up to the fight in an exclusive interview with this paper, Tate discussed the difficulties of trying to rebound from her July 9th defeat.
“I just needed to take a little bit of time and clear my head a little bit to simplify things,” Tate said at UFC Ultimate Media Day before her loss and subsequent retirement. “What it boils down to is that I got caught, caught with a big punch, and I can’t just sit there and overthink it.”
Prior to the MSG showdown, she also appeared confident that she could regain her championship form, even saying that she’s never felt better at any point of her career.
Knowing Pennington would be a tremendously difficult task, Tate felt a victory would be impressive and get her back on track.
“I think if I have a really good fight in this once against Raquel and have a dominant performance, it says a lot,” Tate said last Wednesday. “If I go out there and beat someone who’s hot, up and coming and on a win streak and doing well in the UFC, it says a lot. That’s why I’m excited to be fighting someone like her and not someone coming off of a loss.
“It says a lot, why the UFC put this fight together,” she continued. “They still have faith in my abilities to fight the best and that’s what I want. She very tough, well-rounded, she’s finishing girls on the ground, she’s strong, she’s durable, she’s hard to put away.”
Tate, who entered as the number-one ranked contender against Pennington, who was eighth, just didn’t have the night many envisioned when the dust settled over Penn Station. Pennington came out with a consistent jab, and was able to limit Tate’s opportunities at countering, whether in the stand-up game or on the ground.
Tate, who had a memorable comeback victory in a great fight against Holly Holm in March to win the UFC title, wasn’t able to reach down for one more hoorah, although in the third and final round, the MSG audience was teased on multiple occasions and Tate’s submission attempts were enough to get the crowd on her side.
At one point it looked as if a leg lock could do the trick, but Pennington escaped and held on for the win.
After putting together a 5-1 record in MMA as an amateur, Tate made her professional debut in the sport in November of 2007, and later debuted for Strikeforce in June of 2008.
After years of competition and eventually winning the Strikeforce Bantamweight Title on July 30, 2011, Tate lost her title to Ronda Rousey, which began what is now known as one of the greatest rivalries in women’s MMA history.
Tate debuted in the UFC in April 2013, losing to Cat Zingano in a fight which won Fight of the Night due to the efforts displayed by both warriors.
Tate lost a rematch to Rousey for the latter’s UFC Bantamweight championship in December of that year, which also won Fight of the Night, before putting together a five-fight win streak.
The pinnacle of Tate’s career came on March 5 of this year, when she defeated Holm, who had ended Rousey’s reign, in a dramatic come-from-behind victory in the latter stages of the fifth and final round.
With Holm ahead on all scorecards prior to the fifth, Tate exuded her trademark resiliency and rallied to upend Holm via rear naked choke, winning the UFC Bantamweight Title at the MGM Grand for UFC 196.
She likened fighting at MSG just months later to living a dream.
“I’ve been on really, really big cards before and I feel like this is what I’m meant to do,” Tate said. “I’m meant to be here and meant to be representing the UFC and women’s MMA and all that good stuff here at Madison Square Garden. It really is a dream come true for me.”
UFC 205 Results PPV Card
• Conor McGregor (21-3) def. Eddie Alvarez (28-5) (TKO, punches – round 2) UFC Lightweight Title
• Tyron Woodley (16-3-1) vs. Stephen Thompson (13-1-1) (majority draw) UFC Welterweight Title
• Joanna Jedrzejczyk (13-0) def. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10-1) (unanimous decision) UFC Strawweight Title
• Yoel Romero (13-1) def. Chris Weidman (13-2) (KO, flying knee – round 3)
• Raquel Pennington (9-5) def. Miesha Tate (18-7) (unanimous decision)
FOX Sports One
• Frankie Edgar (20-5-1) def. Jeremy Stephens (25-13) (unanimous decision)
• Khabib Nurmagomedov (24-0) def. Michael Johnson (18-11) (submission, kimura – round 3)
• Tim Boetsch (20-10) def. Rafael Natal (21-8-1) (TKO, punches – round 1)
• Vicente Luque (11-5-1) def. Belal Muhammad (10-2) (KO, punches – round 1)
UFC Fight Pass
• Jim Miller (28-8) def. Thiago Alves (26-11) (unanimous decision)
• Liz Carmouche (11-5) def. Katlyn Chookagian (8-1) (split decision)
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