Miesha ‘Cupcake’ Tate, one of the biggest stars in the history of women’s mixed martial arts, is coming out of retirement. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto first reported the surprising news late this afternoon.
The 34-year-old Tate (18-7 MMA, 5-4 UFC) retired after dropping a unanimous-decision loss to Racquel Pennington at UFC 205 on Nov. 12 of 2016. Since then, the former women’s bantamweight champion in both the UFC and Strikeforce promotions, has given birth to two children.
Tate is already booked to face Marion Reneau on July 17 as part of a Fight Night card at a to-be-determined location. Reneau has announced that it’ll be her retirement bout.
“My heart is full of passion, the fire has been lit!” Tate told ESPN via text message. “The sport has been calling for me, it’s time I answer.”
Tate famously battled Ronda Rousey twice in 2012 and 2013. She lost her Strikeforce belt to Rousey on March 3 of 2012 via armbar with 33 seconds left in the opening frame.
Tate bounced back with a third-round submission win over Julie Kedzie before signing a contract with the UFC. In her Octagon debut, Tate lost a bloody war with Cat Zingano by third-round TKO (knees and elbow).
Zingano was then booked to coach The Ultimate Fighter opposite of Rousey before getting a crack at ‘Rowdy’s women’s 135-pound strap. However, Zingano was injured in training, so Tate took her role on TUF and then met Rousey again at UFC 168.
In a back-and-forth thriller, Rousey submitted Tate with another armbar 58 seconds into the third round.
Tate responded with a four-fight winning streak and when Holly Holm KO’d Rousey in Round 2 of the UFC 193 headliner in Melbourne, Australia, on Nov. 15 of 2015, she was booked to make her first title defense against Tate.
In the UFC 196 co-main event ahead of Nate Diaz‘s upset win over Conor McGregor in the headliner, Holm went into Round 5 with a clear lead on the judges’ cards (3-1 or 39-37). As long as she could avoid a 10-8 round, Holm would retain her strap if she survived the final stanza.
But Tate wasn’t having any of that. She was able to score a takedown about midway through the round. From there, she worked her way to a rear-naked choke on the ground.
Tate was able to lock in the submission and Holm refused to tap, forcing the referee to intervene when she went out. Tate subsequently lost her belt to Amanda Nunes via first-round submission in the UFC 200 main event on July 9 of 2016. Nunes has reigned over the division since then.