It may have shocked some people when it was announced, but Miesha Tate's first defense of her UFC women's bantamweight title will be against Amanda Nunes at UFC 200.
The vast majority of people expected Holly Holm to get an immediate rematch after losing by submission to Tate at UFC 196 - but Tate and the UFC have gone in another direction.
Naturally, people have had a variety of reactions - confused, angry, with some even questioning what Holm did to not get the rematch. Then some reasons came out - apparently Tate rejected the chance to face Holm in her first title defense.
According to the Albuquerque journal, Holm's agent was told that Tate didn't want to face Holm:
They tell me Tate chose. Holly was offered to her and she chose Nunes. She chose to take a weaker opponent.
She’s not as stand-up as Holly. She said she’d take on the best, but she’s not willing to take on the best. Holly gave her a chance. We’re pretty disappointed she didn’t return the favour.
But then some other theories were being put forward. According to Tate - it was the UFC that pushed her towards Nunes as opposed to Holm. Speaking to MMA Junkie, Tate explained why Nunes was announced as her challenger:
They thought that Amanda was the next best girl in line. They were like, ‘Look, you just beat Holly. You finished her.’ They didn’t feel that it was necessary to have an immediate rematch; it didn’t warrant an immediate rematch. It wasn’t one of those performances or such a crazy fight that we’ve got to have an immediate rematch.
It was kind of like, ‘Let’s open up the division – we’d like you to fight Amanda. I said, ‘Cool.’
Tate wasn't a big fan of the suggestion from Holm's camp that she rejected the chance of a rematch either. In fact, she told MMA Junkie that she doesn't overly feel that Holm deserved one because of how Tate herself was treated in the build-up to UFC 196:
I was told by the UFC that her management walked in there and told them that I was going to be a tuneup fight.
They gave themselves a chance to have a big payday and remain the champion, and they thought I was going to be an easy fight, and it backfired.
If Holly had won, I guarantee you she would not be giving me an immediate rematch. She would be looking to fight the next best person, either Ronda or someone she hadn’t fought. So when you look at it from that perspective.
I have beaten Holly, finished Holly, and now I want to fight the girl who’s next in line.
While there are some people out there who think that Holm's strained relationship with Dana White can't have helped her in this situation too, it's clear that people are still at odds over why Holm isn't Tate's next opponent.
Whatever the reason, what is certain is that Miesha Tate will be fighting Amanda Nunes for the title at UFC 200.