Shayna Baszler suffered an early elimination on “The Ultimate Fighter 18” at the hands of Julianna Pena, but she thinks it’s a good thing her rival went on to win the show.
In an interview with the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show, Baszler discussed Pena, Ronda Rousey and more.
On Rousey’s investment as a coach: “Ronda really, really truly cared about us. As much heat as she’s getting for how emotional she would get and everything, I think it’s a lot to be said that she was that emotionally invested in us and it extended to after the show. Whenever she has a chance to help us, she does. … It’s funny because I see people posting like, ‘Ronda didn’t care that much about the team. She just didn’t want to lose to Miesha [Tate].’ But you don’t see pictures of Miesha hanging out with all of their team, but all of us Team Rousey do. I think we have the tightest team bond that there’s ever been on ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ I mean, Davey [Grant] came from England for the end of his camp and stayed at Ronda’s house. It’s not just us; it’s all the team and everything.”
On which coach she preferred, Rousey or Tate: “I didn’t have a preference personality-wise. I had been friendly with Miesha. I had never met Ronda actually, and we had just met when they brought us all in to give us Dana’s do-you-want-to-be-a-f--king-fighter speech. Ronda actually came up and introduced herself, and we kind of geeked out about zombies and videogames for a bit. We hit it off right away. So I didn’t have a preference as far as that. If I had to choose, I would have chosen Ronda’s team at that time just because I feel like Miesha and I have such a similar grappling style that I would learn a lot more tricks for my tool bag from Ronda.”
On why she’s leaving South Dakota to live with and train with Rousey in California: “I don’t want to live the rest of my life thinking, man, I wonder what I really could have done with my career if I would have took the jump. I think I’ve done it. I think I’ve done all that I can do doing it this way, so it’s time to change things up. Fighting is a jealous sport. If you devote any other time to anything else, you’re only going to get as good as you’re doing. But if you go at an all-out sprint, you’re either going to lose it all or win it all. I’d rather take the all-out sprint and see what happens.”
On Pena winning the show: “The initial thing that I felt when Julianna won was, yes, now it will be sweet justice when we rematch. Because it’s a jump back. It’s not like I have to beat this person and this person and this person and this person and this person. If [Jessica] Rakoczy had won, realistically I’d need a rematch with Julianna and to fight Rakoczy in order for people to understand who the ‘Queen of Spades’ is, but now it’s like screw it. I can just jump straight to the top and get that rematch and it’s all good. It’s good for me career-wise, I guess, that she won.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at :01).