UFC President Dana White publicly declared Miesha Tate the next challenger for UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. Tate's victory over Jessica Eye was supposed to be a number-one contender's fight. However, on Aug. 21, Rousey made a guest appearance on "Good Morning America" to declare her next challenger would be former boxing champion Holly Holm.
Before the announcement of Holm, the UFC and Tate supporters seemed to be pushing the narrative that Tate had drastically improved, especially her striking, since her second loss to Rousey at UFC 168. Of course, anyone who wished to sell that fight on pay per view would need to come up with some angle to create interest after two dominant Rousey victories.
However, the interesting counter-narrative is that Rousey has also improved, so a rematch between the two would ultimately look the same if not worse.
Since StrikeScore measures striking performance relative to opponent, charting Tate and Rousey's StrikeScore performance across their careers should result in a trend line that shows the rate of improvement or deterioration. The following are the graphical interpretation of all fights for Tate and Rousey in the Fight Metric database.
The striking performances of both fighters are trending up. However, the difference between the rate of improvement is drastic. The slope of the trendline, which in this case is equivalent to the rate of improvement, is 35.15 for Rousey and only 4.77 for Tate.
Of course these graphs are for the fighter's entire career. Is it possible that Tate's rate of improvement since their second fight is higher?
In fact, the trendline of Tate's StrikeScores since the second Rousey fight is actually trending down (slope is -34.40). The trend is negative even after Tate registered her best StrikeScore (382) against Rin Nakai who is most likely not a UFC caliber fighter.
On the other hand, since their last encounter, Rousey has had two of her best striking performances to date: 904 against Davis and 303 against Correia.
Holm has not really set the world on fire either. In her two UFC fights she has scored a 155 StrikeScore. While that score is not very impressive for a career striker like Holm, it is good enough for fifth among women's bantamweights currently ranked in the UFC's top 10. Of course, Rousey has already beaten the top four.
In case you were wondering Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino's career StrikeScore for her Strikeforce and Elite XC bouts is 588...