Shayna Baszler’s run on “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 18 was cut short when Julianna Pena upset her on just the second episode.
In an interview with the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show, Baszler discussed the show, her loss, coach Ronda Rousey and more.
On Team Rousey’s men and women training together: “On our team, on Team Rousey, we were all training together from day one. And I don’t know -- I’ve heard different things from the Team Tate guys. I didn’t get to see any of their training obviously, but they separated themselves sometimes, I heard. We were never separated. We were never treated like, ‘OK, the girls are over here and the guys are over here.’ Training-wise, there was no difference as far as the Team Rousey side.
On women getting more attention than men on the show: “The couple of guys I talked to about it, I think went in with the understanding that this season is going to get a lot of attention because of the females, but they were basically of the attitude, ‘Who cares? I’m riding the wave. I’ll get paid attention to because the women are and I happen to be on this season, so whatever it takes.’ A couple of guys that I talked to about it were pretty understanding that they were probably going to take a second seat. I mean, this is like season one for us.”
On her loss to Pena: “Regardless of what anyone’s opinions are and what they say, I didn’t get tired. I just didn’t turn it up to fifth gear. I don’t know why and I can’t explain it and I’m not making excuses. I just didn’t do that. I beat her the first round pretty handily, I think. I felt good, but when she came out the second round and knew she had to fight for her life and did that, I didn’t. And I think in some weird way -- and obviously not literally in the fight -- but I think in some weird way I was like, ‘What does she think she’s doing, fighting like this? This is dumb.’
“And so I kind of checked out and was like, ‘All right, I’ll let her get this out of her system.’ When she cracked me and kind of rocked me a little bit that one time at the beginning of the second round, I was like, ‘She has this round, so I’m just going to tap her out in the third round.’ That’s a bad attitude to have. I should have known with my experience and everything that you can’t check out in the middle of a fight. … That’s what happened, and she took advantage. I feel like [it’s] one of the biggest upsets there’s ever been on the show.”
On her mindset: “Maybe it’s that I felt comfortable. … I talked about it with some of my management that [said], ‘We can get you in the UFC. We can do that, but [the show] is going to be way better for you.’ Maybe I just didn’t fight for my life. I don’t know. … I wasn’t fighting for my life. I wasn’t.”
On whether she was upset with opposing coach Miesha Tate afterward: “… Right away, I didn’t take offense at Miesha of course celebrating her team’s win and all that. I really don’t think she meant any offense towards me, but Ronda took it that way and what really spoke to me was that whether true or not, Ronda believes 100 percent that was an offense, that Miesha was celebrating during my time of loss. Whether true or not, Ronda believed it and she had my back. … Ronda knows the ultimate goal for me is to fight her for her belt one day and she knows that I just horribly let the team down. They had so much faith in me. For her to still step up and get my back, it really spoke volumes about Ronda to me. … She won me over that day.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:07:17).