After dominant return at UFC Austin, what’s next for Miesha Tate?

MMA: UFC Fight Night - Austin - Tate vs Avila
Dustin Safranek-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday in the featured prelim of UFC Austin, a former world champion made her return. Miesha Tate (20-9) was back in the cage for the first time in over a year when she took on another returning contender in Julia Avila (9-3).

Entering the bout, I really wasn’t sure what to expect from Tate. The last time we saw her, she had moved down the flyweight and had a potential title eliminator against Lauren Murphy. Tate was dominated in that fight and ultimately moved back up to 135.

Because of that previous fight, I had a hard time picking Tate in this fight. However, Tate was set on proving a point and man did she prove one on Saturday night. From the opening round, Tate charged forward and ragdolled Julia Avila. She took her down at will and completely dominated the fight.

In the third down when Avila knew she had to get a finish, she still couldn’t stop Tate. Tate secured a massive takedown and got the back. She locked in a nasty neck crank and got the tap on Avila completing her successful return at UFC Austin.

What’s next after UFC Austin?

This was a huge moment for Miesha Tate and she proved that she was back with this performance. The tricky part becomes what’s next for her? After Amanda Nunes retired last year, the bantamweight division is wide open. Raquel Pennington and Mayra Bueno Silva will fight in January for the vacant bantamweight title.

The thought is that Julianna Pena will face off against the winner, probably next summer. That said, UFC 300 takes place in April and there’s a seemingly perfect fight for Miesha Tate. That fight would be a rematch with Holly Holm.

At this stage in their careers, the former champions are aligning at the right time. A win for either would trigger one final run towards the title while a loss might force the other to think about the end. Their first fight was a classic and I think this is the matchup that the UFC is going to target next for both of them.