Former UFC bantamweight champion Miesha Tate (19-8) is officially dropping down a weight class. MMA Fighting was the first to report this afternoon that the promotion has booked Tate’s flyweight debut and she will be taking on former flyweight title challenger “Lucky” Lauren Murphy (15-5).
The fight will take place on April 9th at UFC 273. For Lauren Murphy, this is a massive fight coming off of her title loss late in the year. Back in September at UFC 266, Lauren Murphy got the flyweight title fight that she had worked so hard for. Murphy got her shot against Valentina Shevchenko.
This title shot came on the heels of a five-fight winning streak. Murphy had a lot of belief in herself leading up to the fight but fell short just like everyone else has in the flyweight division. She was stopped in the fourth round by the UFC champion and was sent back the drawing board.
However, Murphy isn’t falling far with this next booking. In fact, this is a perfect bounce back opportunity. If Murphy can spoil the UFC flyweight debut of Miesha Tate, she will be right back in the title picture.
Former UFC champion makes flyweight debut
After years away from fighting, Miesha Tate made her return to the UFC last year. She won her return bout and then was booked in a main event against Ketlen Vieira. Ultimately, Tate fell short in that main event. Had Tate won, she was looking at being on the short-list of UFC title contenders at 135 pounds.
In addition to losing that fight against Vieira, something else happened which altered Tate’s path. Julianna Pena, who is a very close friend, shocked the world and became the bantamweight champion. After this happened at UFC 269, Tate mentioned that she might move down to 125 pounds.
Just weeks later, we get this announcement. Given how Valentina Shevchenko has run through the flyweight division, Tate could be fast-tracked towards the title. If she’s able to defeat Lauren Murphy in April, she’s going to get a shot at the UFC flyweight title.
If somehow Tate can pull it off, she would become just the second woman in history to win a belt in two weight classes in the UFC. However, that’s a long ways away and she’s got to get through the tough and durable Lauren Murphy first.