The armbar: It’s the signature submission hold of UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. She has finished all seven of her professional opponents in the first round using the technique.
Even the woman who will coach opposite Rousey on this season of "The Ultimate Fighter," which begins Wednesday night at 10 ET on Fox Sports 1, knows what it feels like to be caught in that armbar. Former Strikeforce bantamweight champion Miesha Tate will be the first to tell you that it doesn’t feel good.
Rousey lifted the Strikeforce bantamweight title from Tate via an armbar on March 3, 2012. Tate has been attempting to become champion ever since.
Tate believes that the time has finally arrived to reclaim her status as best women’s bantamweight mixed martial artist. She is more confident than ever of dethroning Rousey and promises the armbar won’t come into play a second time around when they meet Dec. 28 at UFC 168 in Las Vegas.
With each training session, Tate discovers something new about the mistakes she made in the loss to Rousey. She says she won’t make them again. If Rousey is to retain her 135-pound title, she will have to do so with something other than an armbar.
“I learn a lot in every fight, but especially the ones that I lose,” Tate told ESPN.com. “I know the mistakes I made in that [first] fight, and I do believe they are fixable. I’m working on them all the time.
“And I’m keen to the mistakes she made. [Rousey] is not perfect. She makes mistakes in fights, too. It’s a matter of who can exploit them better. In the first fight she was definitely able to exploit the mistakes I made better.
“But I’m much more familiar with her style; I’m much more familiar with judo. I’ve learned a lot. There are things that I’ve taken note of.”
Tate acknowledges that Rousey won the psychological battle. She was able to get under Tate’s skin, which eventually took her out of her game.
Rousey never hides her feelings. If she doesn’t like you, she will let you know it right away. Rousey doesn’t like Tate -- and the feeling is mutual.
The difference now is that Tate refuses to lose her cool. Rousey can no longer throw Tate off her game, at least mentally. This rematch will come down solely to skill.
And Tate likes her chances in that arena.
“Ronda isn’t particularly stronger than anyone I’ve fought,” Tate said. “But she’s very good at what she does, she’s very smooth. And I’m very well aware of that.
“I wasn’t able to put it all together in time for that fight. Knowing that now and admitting to the mistakes that I made, and not being emotional.
“I have the skill-set to beat her. She’s not invincible by any means. I know that being emotional and being mean-spirited does not serve me well inside the Octagon. So, I’d rather go in there with a positive outlook.”
Being a coach on "The Ultimate Fighter" helped Tate further develop and maintain a positive outlook. Watching her fighters grow and improve brought Tate great joy.
But it wasn’t a one-way street. Teaching allowed Tate to closely examine her own techniques. And she corrected a few flaws in her game.
“I feel I retain more when I teach,” Tate said. “I learn more because I really have to dissect some things; I have to dissect a move, whereas before I was just doing it. Now that I have to think about them, I’ve learned how to do certain moves better.”