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Since we’re about to enter a new decade, I’m going on a bit of a trip down memory lane. As the thread title says, this is going to be my Top 25 fights of the decade. Looking back over the last 10 years, it’s been harder to narrow it down and put them in order than I imagined. This is what I’ve settled on now. The Top 5 or so is pretty concrete, 6-25 the order might change slightly depending on the day. But here goes. I’m going to watch and review each fight as well. Just to refresh my memory and to help me rank them. Some of these fights I haven’t seen in years either, so it’ll be cool to revisit them. Off we go. #25 - Miesha Tate vs Ronda Rousey 1 - Strikeforce - Mar 3rd 2012 OK, some backstory to this one. This fight came at a time when women’s MMA was gaining momentum but hadn’t quite made it yet. They’d been close before with Gina Carano’s popularity but that came crashing to a halt when Gina got wrecked by Cyborg in 2009. Miesha Tate was 12-2 coming into this one and coming off a 6 fight winning streak. She’d won the title in her previous fight, submitting Marloes Coenen in a gutsy comeback performance in July 2011. Rousey had just burst on the scene. She’d only turned pro a year earlier but had already gone 4-0 with 4 submissions, all in under a minute. Couple that with her Olympic bronze medal in Judo, her ties to Gene LeBell, her looks and being a gobby fucker, she got put on the fastrack by Scott Coker. The fight got made and a rivalry was born. Miesha had taken exception to Ronda getting a title shot so quickly into her career. Miesha basically thought, as they say in wrasslin’, that Ronda never paid her dues. “Honestly, I just don’t think that she was next in line. I think she’s done great so far. She’s had a really impressive career, but I think she’s still new. She’s only a year into her career. I’m about six. She kind of talked herself into a title fight. I’m going to be very excited to send her to where I think she belongs, and that’s the back of the line.” - Miesha Tate That kind of talk didn’t go down well and Ronda’s response, summed up, was a big ‘fuck you’. They got off on the wrong foot from day one. This quote from Ronda before this fight hasn’t exactly aged well; “Everyone is so concerned with me getting a big ego, but when I go home they keep me in check. They always tell me the things I need to work on. When I’m home I’m surrounded by a very good group of people. I keep myself separate from the people who tell me I’m awesome all of the time. The group of people I have keep me grounded.” - Ronda Rousey Hmmmm. How’d that work out? Anyway, Coker is no dummy. He had these two women who could both fight, had a natural dislike of each other and a feud brewing, were both marketable and both would look good on the posters. All they had to do was deliver in the cage. Miesha Tate (c) vs Ronda Rousey - Bantamweight Title Strikeforce: Tate vs Rousey March 3rd 2012 Columbus, Ohio Rewatching now, they really did a stellar job promoting this fight. Coker, Tate and Rousey. And by the time they faced off at the weigh in, things were getting heated. The pre-fight video package is really well done as well. If this was your introduction to both women, and it was for most, it told you everything you needed to know. Ronda had lost her Dad at a young age and fell short of winning Olympic gold like he’d always dreamed of for her. This was her chance at redemption, to be the ‘best in the world’ and honour her old man. Miesha’s story was that she’d taken the hard route to the title and wasn’t about to let this mouthy Judo girl come in at 4-0 and take her belt. Add in the bitchy comments and this was all you needed to get invested. “Everything about her is better on paper. Her fights look better on paper. Her photos look better on paper than she does in person. Her trash talking, it looks much better on paper than it actually is if you listen to her talk.” - Ronda Rousey Ouch. Round 1: They waste ZERO time going after each other. Miesha comes right out swinging and Ronda looks a bit uncomfortable. Her chin is straight up in the air just asking to be tagged. But she manages to grab Miesha and take her down. From there a mad scramble ensues. Ronda is still really raw and wild here with it only being her 5th fight. She’s going all out for the armbar early doors here. She’s just a little too high on the arm to really manipulate the joint of the elbow but it still looks nasty. Tate manages to escape and the crowd is going bonkers. She’s on top now. They trade positions with Ronda hitting a nice trip before Tate gets to her feet and starts to land some punches again. Ronda’s had enough of this and busts out a sweet Judo hip throw... I love seeing Judo in MMA. I remember when I first started watching the UFC and seeing Karo Parisyan launching bodies 360 through the air and thinking it was the coolest shit I’d ever seen. So I was marking out for this. Ronda goes from side control and gets mount and then takes the back. She then transitions to the arm and this just feels like a death sentence. It’s just a matter of time. Tate fights it as long as she can but her arm gets all kinds of jacked up and she’s forced to tap. As you can see, Tate’s elbow is all mangled and twisted up. One of the more gruesome armbars I’ve seen in MMA. Winner - Ronda Rousey by submission. Round 1 - 4:27. One of the best one round fights you’ll ever see. There were no handshakes or hugs after the fight. Ronda’s post-fight interview was a mix of emotion. One minute she’s thanking her teammates and dedicating the win to her Dad. Then Mauro Ranallo asks her about what she thought of Tate’s performance and she shows no remorse whatsoever. Saying ”She’s good, she’s legit but...I don’t feel that bad about it.” This whole thing was a home run. From the buildup to the buzz pre-fight to the fight itself to the brutal finish to the post-fight pandemonium. It’s a rollercoaster. And it’s actually a historical fight as this was really the turning point for women’s MMA. This fight. Before Tate vs Rousey 1, Dana White was dead against women fighting in the UFC. Ever. He wouldn’t even entertain questions from the media about it. After this fight, he softened his stance and within a year, women were throwing down in the Octagon. Of course, the Ronda vs Miesha handbags weren’t done there. The rivalry was rekindled in 2013 when they were pitted against each other as coaches on The Ultimate Fighter. It wound up being one of the last great seasons of TUF. I was a huge fan of Ronda at the time but she was car crash viewing on this series. From breaking down in tears all the time to throwing tantrums to getting aggressive to mad shit like cutting weight for the coaches challenge when she didn’t even have to, just to prove a point. She was nuts. Looking back, this was our first glimpse into her not exactly being cut out for the mental side of MMA. She was unhinged. I loved her at this point though. I was Team Ronda for that whole buildup. Tate did a good job of winding her up on TUF, she really got under her thin skin. But it was never going to help her in the fight and by the time the TUF Finale arrived, Ronda was in no mood for any more talking. The rematch took place at UFC 168 in December 2013. It ended up as kind of an extended version of the first fight. Miesha survived until the third round this time but Ronda ultimately armbarred her again going 2-0 up in the feud. The bad blood still wasn’t over though, as Ronda was having none of Miesha’s offer of a post-fight handshake. As far as I know, they still detest each other. As we know now, Ronda ended up fizzling out big time and left the sport on a sour note in late 2017. She’ll be remembered by as many people for being a sore loser as she will for all those mad sub-one minute victories. It’s kind of sad but it’s her own doing. The way she left, I actually think she tarnished her own image more than the losses to Holm and Nunes ever did. And Tate’s retired as well now. Off doing the mum thing. Regardless, these two will always be linked. Their first fight opened up the UFC’s doors for women and is the reason we’ve seen great fighters like Amanda Nunes, Valentina Shevchenko, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Cris Cyborg, Rose Namajunas and Zhang Weili in the Octagon during this decade.