Shayna Baszler and Jessamyn Duke Recap the First Half of The Ultimate Fighter 18
By Dave Carpinello
One of women’s mixed martial arts true pioneers with an extensive fan following, “The Queen of Spades” Shayna Baszler is a member of Team Rousey on The Ultimate Fighter 18 Team Rousey vs. Team Tate. Baszler has been fighting professionally since 2003 and has amassed a record of 15-8-0 with notable wins over Julie Kedzie, Sarah D’Alelio, Alexis Davis, Roxanne Modafferi and Keiko Tamai. The victory over Tamai was groundbreaking for the sport as Baszler became the first fighter to win a fight with the daunted “Twister” submission. Training under “The Warmaster” and catch-submission specialist, Josh Barnett, Baszler was definitely one of the favorites on this season. In her fight to get into the TUF house, Baszler faced Colleen Schneider and won via an armbar submission in the first round. On Episode 2, she faced Julianna Pena and in a shocking upset was submitted in the second round.
As a special feature this week, Shayna was joined this week by fellow Team Rousey teammate Jessamyn Duke to recap the first half of this season of The Ultimate Fighter, enjoy!
1. What was the most shocking thing you have seen while filming the show up through Episode 7?
Jessamyn Duke – It was definitely seeing David Grant walk out of the women’s bathroom naked, covered with bubbles and carrying a loufa. Apparently he took a bubble bath and then decided to share it with us. To this day that image is still engrained in my mind.
Shayna Baszler – The first thing that comes to my mind is also David coming out of the bubble bath but I can’t use Jessamyn’s answer. So I will go with how Jessamyn constantly was seeking attention by frolicking around the house in a bikini 24/7. They haven’t shown a lot of it on TV and I can’t figure out why not since every time there was a camera present, there she was parading herself around looking for attention. 🙂
2. What was the most surprising aspect about being on the show up through last week’s episode?
Jessamyn Duke – I didn’t expect it to be such a high intensity environment the whole time, with all the having to watch your weight, cutting weight and preparing for a fight that you knew was coming but didn’t know when. It made it a lot harder than I thought it would be, I knew there was going to be hard training but I wasn’t expecting how stressful it would be to have to constantly stay on weight and also the stress of the unexpected. It was surprising and definitely different than I had expected.
Shayna Baszler – Going into the show I had thought that I had experienced it all with regards to the sport such as high pressure fights, fighting in front of big crowds and even fighting in local shows that were held in barns. I had fought friends of mine and I had seen friends of mine fight other friends but there was a special, surprising dynamic about the fights on the show. You hear other people from past seasons of TUF talk about it but you don’t realize what they truly meant until you are there and experiencing it for yourself. The depth and emotion involved with being on the show was surprising to say the least and something that I don’t think you could prepare for beforehand.
3. At this point in the season was there any regrets or was there validation as far as what team you were picked to be on?
Jessamyn Duke – Not at all. I couldn’t even count how many times I said to myself how happy I was that Ronda Rousey picked me to be on her team. I remember thinking at that point in the show how bad my experience would have sucked if I was picked by Team Tate. Everyone in the TUF house wanted to be on our team, they were envious of our training, how our practices were being ran and of how close knit our team was as a group. At this point in the show I was definitely thinking that if I had been on the other team, I wouldn’t have gotten anything from my time there. Team Rousey was invested in me from day one!
4. So far through the last episode, what was your best day or night that you can recall?
Shayna Baszler – Honestly, I think my favorite part of everyday was after we had our evening training session and then we would all just be hanging out at the house. It would be hard to pick one day or one night because they were all the fucking same. But I couldn’t wait to get home for the night and hang out with everyone.
5. What was your most disappointing experience so far during the show?
Jessamyn Duke – Losing my fight against Raquel Pennington was the most disappointing thing of course, it ruined the whole experience… well wait, it didn’t ruin everything. I was devastated for a couple of days, it was very hard to deal with but I was lucky to have such a tight team that helped me rebound. They got me refocused and I was able to take advantage of all of the training. So other than losing my fight, the most disappointed thing that happened was losing my fight. I enjoyed most everything else, the training, my team, the people in the TUF house (for the most part) and the overall experience.
6. On average, from your in-house detective work, would you say the fighters in the house drank more alcohol while on the show than they did when they were at home?
Shayna Baszler – I would actually have to say that for the most part everyone drank less alcohol because we were all in perpetual fight camp. Even though I lost the first fight on the show and got a little trashed that evening, that was about it because I had to stay ready in case something opened up. Nobody really got overly crazy up to this point other than that one episode you saw with Anthony Gutierrez, he was super-drunk, but other than that everyone pretty much had their day/night of partying after they fought and that was about it. Especially our team, because we knew that we all had to be at practice to support the rest of the team everyday without exception. So I would say a lot less on average and for me I have definitely had more to drink over the last two months, since getting out of the TUF house, than I did while I was there.
7. Looking forward to the rest of the season, the last two quarterfinal fights were announced, Peggy Morgan vs Sara Moras and Anthony Gutierrez vs Cody Bollinger, what did you think of the match-ups?
Jessamyn Duke – For Peggy and Sara I thought… well Peggy is a big girl and training with her everyday I knew how she was going to fight, with Sara, I had seen her fight some and so I thought we had the advantage in the match-up. The only concern I had prior to that fight was if Peggy could make weight and still be her productive self going into that fight after only eating broccoli and fruit for weeks. I was concerned for her going into that fight for that reason only and not because of her fight plan or technique. When they made the match-up of Cody and Anthony I thought it was going to be a great fight, exciting and scrappy. It turned out to be…
Shayna Baszler – I thought that both of our fighters (Peggy and Anthony) had the tools to win their fights. Anthony has a lot of heart and he generally fights to the skill level of his opponent, he fights up or down depending upon that. As much as Cody was a number one pick, Anthony was in a position to surprise a lot of people but could he? For Peggy, she was trained to beat Sara’s biggest strength and so I was really looking forward to both of the match-ups.
8. They have shown a lot less drama and fighting within the TUF house so far this season as opposed to past seasons of The Ultimate Fighter. Are we missing out or was it really that quite in the house?
Shayna Baszler – I can’t recall, you’ll just have to watch the rest of the season.
9. Halfway through the season if you had to pick one person from your team to be in a bunker with, who would it be and if you had to pick one enemy combatant to be firing on, who would that be?
Jessamyn Duke – I would definitely be in the bunker with Shayna and we would obviously be shooting at Julianna Pena (hypothetically, of course) 🙂
Shayna Baszler – I would take Jessamyn as my bunker mate as well but she still needs some training with the guns. Here is the thing, I would have a whole team with me with each person holding a different position. I would have a Russian espionage specialist, I would have Jessamyn manning the flank and Ronda would be charging the field holding our flag with our battle standard and Edmond and the rest of the coaches would be inside the officer’s tent plotting the gameplan. As far as the enemy goes… take a guess.
10. What were you looking forward to the most in the second half of your time on the show?
Shayna Baszler – At this point in the season I honestly could not wait to get the fuck out of the house. I hated it, I wanted out but I also realized what a great opportunity I had to be there and so I was determined to take advantage of all of the opportunities that were made available to me by the UFC and by Team Rousey.
Keep your horns up and don’t miss this week’s all new episode, Wednesday on FOX Sports 1! – The Queen of Spades
Send in your questions following this week’s episode. You can submit your questions for Shayna by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can post them below and she will answer them each week following the next show on FOX Sports 1! You can also follow Shayna on her Twitter page and Facebook Fan page. Special Thanks to Jessamyn Duke for joining us this week, so make sure you follow her on Twitter!