MMA: Former UFC star Miesha Tate, in Singapore for training camp at Evolve MMA, keen to improve grappling techniques

Miesha Tate reacts during UFC 205 Weigh-ins at Madison Square Garden on Nov 11, 2016 in New York City.
Miesha Tate reacts during UFC 205 Weigh-ins at Madison Square Garden on Nov 11, 2016 in New York City.PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

SINGAPORE - Recently retired Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Miesha Tate may have stopped fighting in the ring, but she still faces new challenges in grappling.

Despite her wealth of experience in the sport, the American, a former women's bantamweight champion with the world's biggest MMA promotion, has used her eight-day stopover in Singapore to hone the grappling component of her game.

Since her arrival last Friday (Dec 2), Tate has been going everyday to Evolve MMA's Far East Square gym to train with local-based fighters including Angela Lee, One Championship's women's atomweight title-holder, and eight-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) world champion Michelle Nicolini. Both Lee and Nicolini train out of Evolve's gym.

Tate, 30, said: "I was happy to learn from grappling with Michelle. Her styles are different and it presented some problems for me. It helped me to learn.

"After my training with her, I went back and was like, 'I need to Google to search for how to defend against that sweep' because you don't see much of that in the US."

Even though it has been less than a month since she retired from competing in the cage, Tate has been keeping herself busy on the mats.

She will return to the United States on Friday morning, where she will fight Jessica Eye in a submission contest at Submission Underground 2 on Dec 11 in Oregon.

And Tate has used her time in Singapore to prepare for that bout. She said: "I have good people to train with at Evolve because they bring only the best people of each category here. In the US, I train in a fight-based gym.

"But now that I am transitioning more to BJJ, coming here is ideal because there were newer challenges that were presented to me which I had not previously realised, because MMA is different. When you're grappling for MMA, there's pushing involved as well."

Tate dropped a bombshell at the UFC 205 event in New York's Madison Square Garden on Nov 12 after losing to Raquel Pennington via a unanimous decision, and she abruptly announced her retirement inside the octagon before exiting the arena.

She said then: "I love you all so much. I've been doing this for over a decade. Thank you so much for being here. I'll love this sport for ever, but it's not my time anymore. It's the future (generation's) time."

Earlier this year in March, she beat Holly Holm via a technical submission after being locked in a rear-naked choke in the fifth round to win the bantamweight title. But in her first title defence bout in July, she lost the belt to Amanda Nunes via a rear-naked choke in the first round.