By Eric Holden,

By the looks of Miesha Tate's mangled left arm immediately following her submission loss to Ronda Rousey on March 3 in Columbus, OH, her fighting career was in serious jeopardy of derailment for an extended period of time.

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The sheer gruesomeness of the contortion left many Tate fans in shock, fearing they would be faced with at least a year without seeing their hero back in action in a Strikeforce cage.

"I felt my hand touch the back of her thigh and I knew everything was really bad," she said in an interview with mmafighting.com, referring to Rousey's vicious armbar that shredded her left arm. "I just didn't know at that point. I didn't feel there was a way out of it. I had no idea how much longer there was on the clock and it just felt like things were getting worse and worse. And I was like, 'I just don't know how much of this my arm can take.' I think that's when common sense started to settle in, rather than pure stubbornness."

Miraculously, not only does Tate not need surgery, but she also plans to return to the cage by the summer of 2012.

On March 16, she tweeted (@mieshatate) "Looks like no surgery!! Dr was impressed w progress so far! :)."

That tweet was posted just one day after she commented that she has approximately 80% range of motion back in her left arm, and that she wanted a rematch with Rousey someday in the future.

"Regardless of what happend I think its fair 2 say my fight w RR was competitive & exciting, who wouldn't wanna watch a rematch dwn the road?" she tweeted.

But before she gets another crack at Rousey for Strikeforce gold, even Tate admits that she will have to put a "W" or two in the win column.

When a fan asked her on Twitter if she agreed that she "should fight Kaufman for a chance to rematch rousey," her response was "@ComIuygtuiyg no I think Kaufman should get her title shot & I should have to win a couple in a row b4 getting a rematch or title shot."

There are plenty of appealing potential challengers in her path, including bantamweight standouts Alexis Davis and Kaitlin Young.

By Tate's estimation, she'll be back to work by the summer. Her response to a fan's question on Twitter regarding her timeline for return was that she's not exactly sure, but that the doctors say it'll take approximately three months to fully heal.

When pressed on the matter and asked to clarify her comments, she tweeted that she's shooting for a return within two months despite the doctor's recommendation. The tweet, posted on March 16, said "@WMMANews: @MieshaTate so 3-4 months then I take it - good to know' I'm going for 2!!"

Will Miesha Tate be back in the Strikeforce cage by the end of 2012? Let me know in the comments.

Eric Holden is a lifelong UFC fan and supporter of the sport of mixed martial arts. His favorite fighters are Miesha Tate and Dan Henderson. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.

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