Tate happy to be free of Rousey drama

LAS VEGAS -- On one hand, of course Miesha Tate is less than satisfied when it comes to her long-standing rivalry with current UFC champion Ronda Rousey.

On the other, she sounds very much ready to move past it.

Tate (13-5) is looking forward to a drama-free bout against Liz Carmouche at a UFC on Fox event on April 19 in Orlando. The buildup so far has been in stark contrast to the circus that surrounded her title fight against Rousey at UFC 168 in December.

“I really like being matched up with Liz,” Tate said. “It’s so refreshing. She has great sportsmanship. I get along with everyone from her team. It’s nice to just not have anything else to focus on. No drama. For most of my life, I’ve been a drama-free girl.”

Drama has not been kind to Tate inside the cage. She gives full credit to Rousey for beating her twice (in March 2012 and again in December) but, as any competitive fighter likely would, believes she could have performed better.

She appeared to essentially play into Rousey’s strengths in the second fight, by loading her weight onto Rousey’s hips during constant attempts to take her down.

Tate says that was never part of her game plan. She wanted to force a standup fight with Rousey, in a way that played to her strengths. She tried for a practice or two to learn a stick and move approach but it felt, well, weird.

“That’s just not my style,” Tate said. “We tried for like a minute to be like Lyoto Machida and it did not work out. I was like, ‘OK, this is not for me.’

“I’m a very forward-style fighter. I like to get in the fight and be in the fight.”

Tate’s team devised a strategy that still allowed her to be aggressive, but in a tactical way. Looking back on the fight, Tate says the game plan was working, until she grew too eager to take Rousey down to win what she thought were close rounds.

“I felt like I had to do something more decisive,” Tate said. “I wanted that takedown to make it so that I won the round for sure. That’s just what happens in the haste of a fight sometimes. It doesn’t come out as clean as it did in training.

“That’s why I think [Georges St-Pierre] is one of my favorite fighters. He seems to be able to stick to a game plan and execute it flawlessly, whether it’s exciting or not. He does it with perfection every single time. I’m like, ‘How do you do that?’”

After tapping to an armbar in the third round, Tate extended her hand to Rousey, who refused to shake it and turned away. It seemed like a move based on a personal rift, but Tate took it as a sign that Rousey didn’t respect her as an opponent.

“That’s on her now and I’m fine with that,” Tate said. “I extended my [hand]. That at that point signified me saying, ‘You got the fight tonight. Congratulations. I respect you.’ She didn’t want to give me the mutual fighter respect.”

In 2014, Tate isn’t concerned with whether or not she has Rousey’s respect. She’s relocated her training camp from Washington to Las Vegas, where she works at Xtreme Couture with coaches Bryan Caraway, Robert Follis and Jimmy Gifford.

She hasn’t given up her dream of winning a UFC belt, but says she’s probably three impressive wins away from another title shot.

“I think that’s fair,” Tate said. “If I beat three top people: Liz, (Cat) Zingano and (Sara) McMann or something like that. Those are the best girls in the division right now. Beating those girls would establish I’m the No. 1 contender.”

If all that happens and Rousey is still wearing the belt, Tate says she’ll fight her “as many times as [the UFC] will allow.” Until then, she’s happy to have her life back to normal -- drama-free.