After last night’s episode of “The Ultimate Fighter” I have to admit, I had mixed feelings.
On one hand, I should be happy because Julianna Pena was moving into the next round of the show, which filled me with some hometown pride because she fights out of Spokane where I had spent a good chunk of my youth.
On the other hand, I was bummed to see Shayna Baszler out of the competition. Like many WMMA fans, I was excited to hear that she was first pick of the amazing, the beautiful and incomparable Ronda Rousey. I will also admit – proudly I might add- that she was my pick to go to the finals and become the first female TUF winner. After the fight, fans flooded Baszler’s Twitter and Facebook with messages of support and comfort, saying that she will fight again.
I agree with them. Even if she didn’t win TUF, the “Queen of Spades” still has a chance to fight in the UFC.
With a fight resume as impressive as her’s, the Queen could have went on Twitter and Facebook to insult the fighters already on the UFC roster, insult Dana White and then wait for the call for the UFC brass. But she didn’t. She went to the tryouts in Las Vegas, fought her way into the house and became a part of Team Rousey. And she did not just go through the motions. She became invested in her team.
Fans were not the only ones who supported Baszler in her defeat. The Queen recently wrote a blog about being on TUF and what it was like being a member of Team Rousey and competing on the show. I will not go into too much detail, but I will say that fans who read this will see sides of both the Queen of Spades and the “Rowdy” one that the cameras do not show. Team Rousey teammate Jessica Rakoczy recently praised Baszler and said how positive the Queen was after her loss.
As far as her future, I have always said that fighters will usually get a chance to fight on the finale, even if they did make it to the finals. Between now and then, Baszler may get the chance to compete on the finale. She could even face Pena in a rematch if the cards are dealt right.
Even if she does not get the call to participate on the TUF 18 finale, UFC officials have already seen what Baszler can do. Even Rousey told her that they would face each other in the octagon someday. While this is the fighting business, I would say an endorsement from the champion is a big thing.
What would you like to see next for the Queen of Spades? Answer with a comment below, send a tweet to @alstover or email [email protected]