Miesha Tate Needs A Team With Some Judo

Miesha “Cupcake” Tate is only 27 years old, but her UFC career has hit a roadblock named Ronda Rousey.

Mauled and defeated by the women’s bantamweight champion this past Saturday night at UFC 168, Tate finds herself in the unenviable position of having gone 1 & 3 over her last four fights and being on a two fight losing streak, with her last four Octagon appearances being bookended by losses to Rousey. In short, her career is in a bit of a trough.

As this is the case, then what can she do about it?

First, she needs an honest assessment of not only her own strengths and weaknesses, but also those of her team’s. If she does a decent inventory, then she’ll come to the conclusion that she has great cardio, solid wrestling and grappling, but lacks what it takes to deal with high level fighters such as Ronda Rousey and Cat Zingano, or perhaps even Sara McMann, Cyborg Santos and Holly Holm; should the latter two eventually end up in the UFC.

Simply put, her principal flaws are that her stand-up and Jiu Jitsu need dramatic improvement, and that she’s incapable of dictating if a fight goes to the ground and stays there, or remains on its feet. In a nutshell, she’s a great athlete who needs a lot of work on her takedown and control, takedown defense, as well as her Jiu Jitsu and boxing.  

That brings us to her camp and to be honest, fans might scratch their heads as to what that camp actually is. Tate used to train with “Team Alpha Male”, but had a falling out with them in 2012. Since then, Miesha has pretty much been on her own and training with her “significant other”, Bryan Caraway. Of course that’s a shame, because since her departure Tate’s old team has taken on Duane Ludwig as their new head coach, and subsequently, the crew has become one of best and most successful camps in the UFC. As such, Tate might have benefited from whatever skill set and magic that Ludwig seems to poses, had she been training with TAM prior to UFC 168.

However and setting that aide, the fact of the matter is that Tate doesn’t seem to be improving as much as she needs to and consequently, her fans might suggest that she join a good team. Going back to TAM would certainly be a good option, but if that’s not doable and for whatever reason, then there are more than enough quality clubs that would happily greet Cupcake as a new team member. However, Tate could most benefit from a team that had a great Judoka.

One crew that would fit the profile would be  “American Top Team.”

The club has a myriad of great fighters that could certainly help improve Tate’s stand-up and ground games, and one in particular that could really help Miesha, and that’s Hector Lombard.

Lombard is a former Olympian and fourth degree black belt in Judo. He also has a black belt in Jiu Jitsu and tremendous boxing skills. Further, he knows how to knock people out. Training with someone of Hector’s unique skill set might at least put Tate on a path to nullifying Rousey’s powerful throws, while at the same time giving her something more substantial to fire back with.

If not Lombard and “ATT”, then perhaps Rick Hawn and “Team Sityodtong.” Like Hector, Hawn too is a high level judo practitioner and former Olympian. He’s also developed a formidable boxing game and like Lombard, generally uses his judo to keep his fights standing. As such, there’s much that the Bellator 2012 welterweight tournament winner could teach Tate.

In terms of judo, Tate herself knows that it’s an issue. Indeed, in lead up to her UFC 168 title fight with Rousey, Tate had elicited the help of 2012 Olympic gold medallist Lucie Décosse, for her camp. However, bringing in specialists and working with them for a few weeks is not the same thing as training with your teammates’ day-in-and-day-out. And what Tate needs on a daily basis, is to be training with fighters that can push and improve her in the areas that she’s weakest.

American Top Team and Team Sityodtong, with the likes of Hector Lombard and Rick Hawn respectively, would be excellent choices for accomplishing that goal.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Jmedno5891/ jmedno5891

    I remember when Jones first started in the ufc and was throwing people around like rag dolls because they didn't realize you can't push against a good Greco guy, its the same thing with rousey. People need to start training to NOT clinch with her. I don't see a freestyle wrestling fighter being able to win against rousey, it'll probably take someone with good judo/Greco defense to avoid rouseys offense and just keep the fight standing. That or a freakishly strong chick like cyborg lol

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/MagicMMA/ MagicMMA

    Some good points made, but the only fighter with the judo to cause problems for Tate is one she won't be fighting anytime soon. She needs to change camps, or perhaps find a camp in general, and improve her overall game and strategy. Judo is the least of her worries

    • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Brian-Cox/ Brian Cox

      Agreed that she won't be facing Rousey for a while, and agreed that Rousey is the only fighter giving her problems with judo, but she now has the time to start seriously working on it. And anything she learns can be used against other fighters.

      No matter what, she needs a serious team and she doesn't have that right now.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Zip/ Zip

    "Her 'significant other' Brian Caraway". Thought I sensed a bit of resentment there :)

    • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Brian-Cox/ Brian Cox

      I thought it was better than "boyfriend." Truly Zip, I wasn't trying to be cute and I'll be rooting for Caraway in his next fight; no resentment here, my man. He seems like a nice enough guy; good for him that he landed her.

      • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Zip/ Zip

        Just pokin at you :)

        • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Brian-Cox/ Brian Cox

          I know, buddy; poke away.

          • http://lowkickmma.com/members/IChokePeople/ IChokePeople

            Miesha Tate is a 6 at best. Get over it.

      • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Matt1926/ matt1926

        I resent him. Because he gets to bang Meisha any time he wants.

        • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Zip/ Zip

          And, not only any time he wants, but whose name does she whisper… 'Brian, oh Brian'.

          Sorry buddy, this was just sitting there, so I snatched it. Had to :)

          • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Brian-Cox/ Brian Cox

            That's okay Zip, don't think I haven't had the same thought. :-)

        • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Watermelon-Fresh/ watermelon fresh

          Who cares? You act like she's the only attractive woman on the planet. Geez

          • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Matt1926/ matt1926

            She is bro!!!!!!

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/D/ D

    Honestly, she can train in whatever discipline she wants and it won't matter. It was painfully obvious in the last fight that Rousey is just a vastly superior athlete. She's stronger, faster, and more explosive, and quite frankly, it's not even close. I'm not trying to take anything away from Rousey and her technique, but this is all about athleticism. Miesha is 27 years old, and a life-long athlete in tremendous shape. Her athleticism is not going to improve. She can do any training she wants, but the reality is that on her worst day, Rousey destroys her at least 9 times out of 10.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Brian-Cox/ Brian Cox

      Mousasi, Pete Rose was probably one of the slowest, most un-athletic guys to ever play baseball, yet he's one of the greatest players of all time and all based on heart, determination and a sheer "hustle."

      Tate has all the tools needed if she has the heart. Is it a long shot, probably, but that's no reason to give up on a dream or to stop trying. If she's a grinder and wants it bad enough, she can do it.

      Sadly, I like underdogs and people who don't quite. I'm hoping that she can turn things around and show us a different Miesha next time out.

      • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Zip/ Zip

        Tate at least came to fight. I was impressed with that. Thought it would be another 1st round arm bar.

        • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Brian-Cox/ Brian Cox

          She did that and she did what no other fighter has done, which was make it out of round one; good for her on that one.

      • http://lowkickmma.com/members/D/ D

        There are 100s of slow, unathletic fat slobs in MLB. If you have fantastic hand eye coordination and bat speed (Pete Rose had both of those things, or all the heart, determination and hustle in the world wouldn't have cut it) or can throw 90+ mph accurately you're set.

        Beyond the obvious fact that MMA requires far more athletic ability than baseball, you won't find an elite fighter who lacks elite athleticism anymore. You just won't. The sport has grown past that point. I get the underdog thing, I do, but when you get to the top level, and both fighters have excellent technique, it's going to come down to the who's the better athlete.

        I'm not saying she should stop trying. She can still win plenty of fights and make money. I'm just saying that she can tweak her training and strategy all she wants, but she will never beat Rousey. She should probably worry about beating fighters like McMann, Kaufmann, and Davis (wouldn't pick her against any of those right now) to remain in the top 5. I seriously doubt training in Judo is the best way to beat those fighters, so I don't think Rousey-specific training is her best choice right now. After the way Rousey destroyed her twice in the last 2 years, that fight is in the distant future.

        • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Brian-Cox/ Brian Cox

          Again, I wouldn't disagree that the fight is in the distant future.

          In terms of elite athletes, I believe Tate is one and I don't know that Rousey is that much better. Of course her judo and BJJ are off the shelf, but if it came down to a straight-up cross-training, I doubt there'd be a ton of difference between the two.

          Ronda has been doing judo since she was a child and she grew up with a master of it for a mom. That skill has translated very nicely into her BJJ mastery. As such, she has a massive advantage over Tate that cannot be overcome. However it might be mitigated enough, to allow Tate to land a KO punch.

          It's the reason why I used Rose as an example. His fame has more to do with his ability to stretch a single into a double, than it does hand speed or eye-hand coordination. And that had everything to do with heart and intelligence. Charlie broke out of that box every hit thinking he'd hit a double and always round first with the gusto that he was right.

          I think Tate has the same kind of heart and intelligence, and can turn it around; become a more serious threat in the division. But again, it's going to take a couple of years of grinding and learning some knew chops. However and as you made note, she's not going to be facing Ronda again for quite some time, if ever; Rousey may have retired and moved on, by the time that happens; who knows.

          Either way and no matter what she does, she needs a new team.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Entity/ Entity

    She needs a coach that can game plan for starters. Tate's game plan sucked bad. Her striking isnt all that either. She should have used better footwork(non existent) kept her distance and used solid striking. She played right into the hands of Rousey.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Brian-Cox/ Brian Cox

      Agreed. The game plan for this fight would be the same one Holly Holm would have applied, stick and move, find the range and keep the distance, avoid the clinch at all cost and throw no kicks. Sadly, it's what I personally advocated as a plan. I'm not saying that it would have worked, she could have done all that and still lost on the feet or done all of that and still be taken down and trashed. However, she would have at least had a fighting chance. As it stands, she has no chance with Rousey on the ground, where she "might" on the feet.

      She could also use an intensity boost.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Enjoylife321/ enjoylife321

      Mr Caraway and Meisha definetly spent too much time in a hot sauna. I agree with Brian, its time for Meisha to bring in new training partners, change camp or do whatever it takes to get a formiddable game plan…She took the fight straight into Rhonda's strengths…..

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Watermelon-Fresh/ watermelon fresh

    She does not need a camp with judo. How many high level judokans are there in the women's division? She's needs a real camp and she needs to have a better fight IQ. Repeatedly trying to clinch and tie ups with Rousey was ridiculous. Tate has no footwork, striking… No sense of distance or space and she lacks a high level ground game.

    She has her work cut out for her in the future.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Brian-Cox/ Brian Cox

      WF, as there aren't any high level female judokans running around in MMA, I subsequently offered up two serious and or decent camps, with two serious judokans fighting out of them.

      And yeah, she needs a better Octagon IQ. It was a dumb game plan, if indeed it was the game plan. The whole thing was a disaster, with the only upside being that Tate should be commended for surviving round one; which I gave to Rousey as a 10 / 8 drudging. She should also get credit for making it through round two and "into" (barely) round three.

      As you say, she has her work cut out for her, but it's not something that can't be worked on. Her next fight is going to be huge; she needs a win big time.

      • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Entity/ Entity

        You can that two times!

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Watermelon-Fresh/ watermelon fresh

    Right. But judo Is difficult or harder to be productive at as bjj. It takes years of practice and while the techniques can be learned and there are a lot of them… It's really difficult to do it in live sparring (, throwing someone) and even tougher in Mma match.

    Only thing I'd suggest for tate is to work on her base and judo defense… And spend more time rolling in bjj and of course striking and be a better overall fighter.

    Bjj and judo are out of this world rough to be good at…. I mean it takes 1000s of mat hours. I'm not kidding…. It takes a lot of Rolling getting tapped out for years before you become good. That's why there's not many bjj black belts compared to other arts

    • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Brian-Cox/ Brian Cox

      I wouldn't disagree, WF.

      I am not suggesting that Tate could go and train at ATT for two years and come out and throw Rousey around; not at all. However, she might be able to get good enough to keep in to the feet. Improve her boxing and she might have something. Again, I think guys like Lombard and Hawn could really teach her something, and she'd be a big name addition to any club, so I don't know why they wouldn't take her.

      Either way, it'll be interesting to see which way she goes on the subject, but she can't go on the way she is; she needs a great camp.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Enjoylife321/ enjoylife321

    Hector Lombard is a specimen-and i mean that in the most heterosexual way possible

    • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Brian-Cox/ Brian Cox

      Hector is a beast, man. I think he's about to full-fill all of the hype that he had coming out of Bellator, when he was first signed by the UFC. I think he's going to end up as champ, to be honest. His next few fights are going to be very interesting to watch.

      • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Enjoylife321/ enjoylife321

        remember what he did to marquardt….he makes grown men look like pussies

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/IChokePeople/ IChokePeople

    I don't see how training with Hector would be beneficial to Tate right now. She needs to train with some lesser Judokas before she can benefit from training with him. He could definitely teach her somethings but training with him would just hurt at this point. What I would recommend if I was coaching her would be to find a good team and start training Judo at a world class Dojo. She will start with other white belts, get to where she is ready to train with a killer like Lombard fairly quickly due to her conditioning and wrestling and by the time she needs it she will have found some decent training partners for her next encounter with Rousey.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Metatron/ Metatron

    Excellent article, Brian. I appreciate writing that inspires thought and strategy. Thanks for posting.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Camelux3000/ Camelux3000

    Hector is a beast and potential future champ.
    Tate is a semi hot bad *** chick who will never win Rousey or Cyborg to be champ.