Miesha Tate used No. 12 ranking as motivation for dominance at UFC on ESPN 52, appreciation of moment

AUSTIN, Texas – Despite her long tenure in the game, Miesha Tate is not contemplating retirement.

Tate, a former UFC and Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion, returned to the cage this past Saturday, dominating and then submitting Julia Avila at UFC on ESPN 52. Tate (21-9 MMA, 7-6 UFC) put on a grappling clinic against Avila (9-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and then submitted her with a neck crack in the third round.

The win over Avila marked Tate’s 30th professional fight. Many wondered if that was going to be the last fans saw of Tate, but it looks like there’s a little more left in the tank.

“I don’t feel like that was my last fight, but I feel like any fight I could just know it’s my last one, but I don’t know if I can,” Tate told MMA Junkie at the UFC on ESPN 52 post-fight press conference. “I don’t go into my last fights thinking it’s my last fight – if that makes sense.

“I don’t feel like I’m going into any fight thinking it’s going to be my last, but I’m also going in with the appreciation and the fire that it could be my last. It’s not like it’s pre mediated, but I feel like I’m appreciating these fights in a way that I couldn’t have in the earlier part of my career. … I don’t know how many times I will get to make the walk, and tonight was my 20th victory. I’ve been doing this for 18 years. Some day it will be my last and I want to be sure I get the most out of these moments.”

It’s uncertain how much longer the 37-year-old Tate wil fight for, but she knows the end is coming. What’s certain, is that Tate had a vintage performance on Saturday and a lot was due to a change in mentality and a desire to prove she’s still among the world’s best.

“I wanted this fight to be dominant,” Tate said. “There was a part of me that realized that I haven’t been outside the top 10 rankings the entire time that I’ve been fighting in the UFC, so to see 12 next to my name, I was like, ‘You know what, I have a lot to prove in this fight.’ I had a lot to prove, and I thought I’m going to go out there and maybe for the first time in my career, I’m going to fight with as much of my skill as I can.

“I think I’ve always gone in there thinking what everyone else thinks, ‘I’m tough, and I can endure.’ I kind of made a name for myself for fighting with my heart, but I’m so much better than that.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 52.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie