It makes so much sense, who knows? It might actually happen.
Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada, former UFC bantamweight champion Miesha Tate ended her 43-month retirement with a victory by third-round TKO over Marion Reneau.
Even before that fight was in the books, Albuquerque’s Holly Holm – who lost the title to Tate in March 2016 — began lobbying for a rematch.
“You can dominate a fight and still let it slip through your fingers in the last remaining minutes,” Holm wrote, a reference to her fight with Tate. Holm appeared to be on her way to a victory by decision in defense of the belt she so spectacularly had won from Ronda Rousey the previous November.
With some two minutes left in the fifth and final round, though, Tate executed a two-leg takedown and put Holm to sleep with a rear naked choke.
“I’d love to get the chance to redeem that loss,” Holm continued. “You want to see a 2, Holm vs. Tate 2?
Bring it on, Tate said in postfight interviews.
“I think a fight with Holly a second time would be great,” she said. “… I’m sure Holly and I, I have no doubt about it, before I retire her and I will fight again.”
For the record, Holm, 39, has made it clear she’ll retire when she’s good and ready and not before. But Tate’s reference involved Reneau, who announced her retirement after the first loss by stoppage of her career.
Holm defeated Reneau by unanimous decision in her second UFC fight, just before her victory over Rousey.
The idea of a Holm-Tate rematch appeals not just to the fighters involved.
After Saturday’s card, the Journal texted Lenny Fresquez, Holm’s longtime Albuquerque promoter, to gauge his interest.
“Will definitely be making the call,” he replied, though he added, “Holly wants her or anybody.”
Holm’s eagerness is understandable. Coming off her victory by unanimous decision last October over Irene Aldana — the most complete performance of her career — she was to have fought Julianna Pena in May. But surgery to address a kidney condition called hydronephrosis scrubbed the Pena fight and kept Holm out of the gym while recovering.
Now, Holm-Tate II, said mmajunkie.com’s Mike Bohn, is a fight that cries to be made.
“I think it is now time to run that back,” Bohn said. “It is a very prime fight to make in this division, (between) two of the biggest names in women’s MMA.”
Holm (14-5) and Tate (19-7) have the same stated goal — a shot at the bantamweight title Holm lost to Tate in her first defense and that Tate lost in her first defense to current champion Amanda Nunes. Tate then lost to Raquel Pennington, retired and gave birth to a son.
Given that Holm and Tate have both lost decisively to Nunes, Tate by first-round submission, Holm by first-round TKO in July 2019, it’s unlikely that UFC President Dana White sees either fighter right now as an immediate challenger.
But, with a victory by one over the other, given the stature that each fighter has earned in the past, that picture could change dramatically.