When Miesha Tate returned to the octagon following a five-year absence, she wanted to prove she still had what it took to be an elite fighter.
Eventually, she will have championship aspirations, but Tate isn’t rushing into that. Now, the 35-year-old former UFC and Strikeforce bantamweight champion is looking to test herself in another way.
MMA Fighting is reporting that Tate will be making her flyweight debut against former contender Lauren Murphy. Initially set for UFC 273 on April 9, the fight is now slated for a May 14 UFC card, per Mike Heck .
Tate made her MMA debut in 2007. A silver medalist in the 2008 FILA Grappling World championships, “Cupcake” had a successful stint with Strikeforce before joining the UFC in 2013.
She beat Holly Holm to win the UFC bantamweight title in March 2016 at UFC 196 but lost it against Amanda Nunes at UFC 200 that July. Tate retired after a loss to Raquel Pennington in November 2016.
During her retirement, Tate joined ONE Championship in a backstage role. She also gave birth to two children during this time.
Tate beat Marion Reneau in her return fight in July 2021 but lost to Ketlen Vieira in her last bout in November.
Recently, Tate went on her YouTube channel to discuss her next steps, including a potential move from 135 to 125. One factor was Julianna Pena beating Nunes at UFC 269 to become UFC bantamweight champion. Another factor is that Tate may have a height and reach advantage at flyweight, something she never really had at bantamweight.
“So I am currently stuck in a very heavy debate with myself on whether to stay at 135 pounds or move down to 125,” said Tate, via Bloody Elbow . “Couple of thought processes on this. I have made my entire career at 135 pounds, minus a couple times fighting at 145 just due to lack of competition. I always assumed that  was my weight class because there never was a 125-pound opportunity. Now as I sit back in the second part of my career, I’m thinking, ‘Hmm, should I go down?’
“The things that factor into that for me, Julianna just became the champion at 135 pounds. I’m very excited for her, but we’ve been good friends for a long time. We grew up in the sport together and preferably I don’t want to have to fight her, if I can be completely honest. I would prefer that we could both be champions.”
Murphy, ranked third in the UFC’s flyweight rankings, made her pro debut in 2010. A former Invicta FC bantamweight champion, Murphy joined the UFC in 2014 as a bantamweight and became a flyweight in 2017.
She was on a five-fight win streak against stars like Joanne Calderwood and Roxanne Modafferi, which earned her a shot at the UFC flyweight title at UFC 266 in September. There, she lost via TKO in the fourth round against champion Valentina Shevchenko.
Since winning the title at UFC 231 in 2018, Shevchenko has defended it six times.