Pannie Kianzad then considers a former champion.
Kianzad (15-6 MMA, 4-3 UFC), who saw his four-game winning streak shattered at the hands of Raquel Pennington in September, believes a clash with Miesha Tate makes perfect sense.
Since coming out of retirement in early 2021, Tate has shared both of her appearances. She finished by TKO against Marion Reneau in July, followed by a unanimous decision loss to Ketlen Vieira in the headliner of UFC Fight Night 198 in November.
“I mean, we both lost to ‘Rocky’, didn’t we? Kianzad told MMA Junkie. “If you look at the rankings, there’s no one left (other than me and her) who isn’t injured, who’s been pregnant or pregnant, awaiting childbirth, injured or already compatible. So if you look at it, I don’t see why. And she just said no to Aspen Ladd, so I don’t see that much choice for her either. If you watch it, if she doesn’t want to fight Aspen Ladd, I don’t see any other girl there.
“I don’t see any other possibilities – if you can name one, of course. But I don’t see anyone she hasn’t fought, lost, or just won against. I don’t know, but I just think it’s a good game. I’m like this: When I got into the UFC, it was the goal of my life, okay? But now when I’m there I don’t want to waste time. I just turned 30. It might be like a fit, but I just want to fight. I just don’t want to wait.
Tate (19-8 MMA, 6-5 UFC) went back and forth with Ladd, targeting her for her scale issues. But after Tate rejects the idea of fighting Ladd, Kianzad believes she’s the only other option for the former UFC bantamweight champion.
And if she can beat Tate, Kianzad is more than happy to fight Ladd.
“I always respect my opponents, like the highest level, because what we do is the highest level,” Kianzad said. “(I’ve been a) big fan of her for many years. I followed her career. When she came back she said she wanted to be a champion. She doesn’t want to fight once and be done. But if you want to be a champion, then you’ve got to come through all of us who was here when you left, who progressed and everything.
“So that’s what I think. She’s a bit of the older generation and I’m a bit of the new generation, but still like a veteran. So I think it’s going to be a good game, and like I said, she lost to “Rocky” as well. I see this is a big step for me in this division. I feel like I could get back on track and erase my loss to “Rocky” when I win this fight. She doesn’t want to fight Aspen. I will fight Aspen after I beat Miesha.
Kianzad is hoping to fight Tate over the rumored UFC London card, which is slated for March 19.
“I heard that she also wanted to fight in March,” Kianzad said. “I plan everything for her. Everything is perfect and for matchmakers. There’s been a lot of talk about this Aspen story, and I just think the emphasis wasn’t on the right things. She focused on Aspen’s relationship, the training – forget that. Don’t you want to fight her? Fight me instead. I don’t want to hear what people think about relationships and struggles with other people, coaches and everything. I just want it to move on.
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