Shayna Baszler “The Queen of Spades Returns at Invicta FC 2″ – Interview
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 May 2012 11:54
Written by PunchDrunkGamer
Thursday, 10 May 2012 11:54
Shayna Baszler “The Queen of Spades Returns at Invicta FC 2” – Interview
By Dave Carpinello
“The Queen of Spades” Shayna Baszler returns to action on July 28th at Invicta FC 2 in the main event against former Olympian Sara McMann. Baszler recently took some time to talk with PDG about the fight, where she has been the last couple of years, Invicta FC and Halo.
PDG: Congrats on your upcoming fight against Sara McMann in the main event at Invicta FC 2 on July 28th. What are your thoughts on facing the former Olympian?
Shayna Baszler: We have grappled each other before in tournaments so it won’t be the first time that we have faced each other. That being said, Olympic athletes are at a whole different level personally and physically than most other athletes. Which is why the fact that we have faced each other in the past will make it a little easier because nothing will come as a surprise.
PDG: Who won the grappling matches?
Shayna Baszler: We each won one.
PDG: You have had an extremely long inactive period, when will you start your training camp for this fight?
Shayna Baszler: I was scheduled to fight Kelly Kobold on April 21st and even though the fight was cancelled a ways out, my team had been telling Invicta FC that if anyone pulled out of their scheduled fight (Invicta FC 1 – April 28th) I would be ready to step in. So besides taking last week off, I have been in a constant training camp for the last couple of months. I am in pretty good shape right now so I will probably stick to the norm and put together an eight to ten week camp after I watch Josh Barnett kick some ass in Strikeforce.
PDG: Before your rematch against Kelly Kobold at Cage Fighting Xtreme was cancelled you spoke about integrating some of the pro wrestling that you have been working on into your catch wrestling. Do you plan on trying the same against Sara McMann even though she is a completely different fighter than Kobold?
Shayna Baszler: I do like to watch pro wrestling to see what submissions they are using that I could turn into real submissions that would work with my style. So I am not really practicing pro wrestling but I do always have new moves cooking up in my kitchen. My style has always been my style and it usually includes some crazy, unorthodox moves and against McMann I am just going to do the things that I do… the unexpected.
PDG: It will be just under two years since your last fight when you get into the cage with McMann; what have you been doing?
Shayna Baszler: The funny thing about that is that I have had three fights scheduled during that time that were cancelled for one reason or another and then what always happens is the promoter tells you to keep training because they will find a replacement and then that never happens. So even though I have been inactive to the public eye, I have had several training camps over that time period.
PDG: You were cageside at the inaugural Invicta FC event; what did you think of the event overall?
Shayna Baszler: Boy, I have to tell you that it was awesome! It was just recently that Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey were the main event in Strikeforce and finally a women’s bout was the headliner and not on the undercard or the first fight on the main card. I wouldn’t say that prior to that Strikeforce treated the women fighters badly, they were always good to me, but Invicta treated every girl on the show like they were a star. I think that with someone like Shannon Knapp (President of Invicta FC) who has been in fight business for a long time that they are off to an awesome start. They had everything at that show that you would expect to see at an all men’s show from Mauro Renallo working the microphone down to the some of the best cornermen in the business. I went to college in Kansas City so I met up with an old friend and got her tickets to show. She does follow MMA, just not as much as others so when I was pointing out the people in the audience to her, she was surprised that every big name in women’s MMA was in attendance. It was huge event for us and I think the second show is going to be even bigger because of the rave reviews the first show received.
PDG: Do you know if the show was sold out?
Shayna Baszler: It wasn’t sold out by any means but I was told that the live free stream of the event had over 250K viewers. Before the event, Shannon Knapp had said they were hoping for 25K viewers so I would say that it was a huge success.
PDG: Have you heard if the event you are fighting in will be live streamed or broadcast on something like HDNet?
Shayna Baszler: I haven’t heard anything yet but imagine it will be one or the other.
PDG: Even though you had a long layoff, you are still on a four-fight win streak. Were you surprised it was Invicta and not Strikeforce that came through with an offer?
Shayna Baszler: Yeah that whole situation with Strikeforce has been annoying because I was told that if I won the Freestyle Cage Fighting Women’s Bantamweight Grand Prix, which I did, that I would get a Strikeforce contract. I think the big issue was that Zuffa purchased Strikeforce and Shannon Knapp left the company and she was the one that was behind that deal with FCF. So that deal must have fell through the cracks and it was super-frustrating but the great thing about the Invicta deal is that I am getting a real opponent, not someone to just kick the rust off. McMann is tough opponent and so it will be a good win for me to notch on my belt, another skull to add to the pile.
PDG: How would you compare your upcoming opponent McMann, a former Olympian to the current Strikeforce Champion Ronda Rousey, who is also a former Olympian and do you see any similarities?
Shayna Baszler: Honestly I think that McMann is being smarter as far as the way she is progressing in her career. She has been taking progressively tougher fights each time and I think that is the way to build your career. She has neither padded her record nor has she jumped into top-ranked competition right away which has allowed her to work on the holes in her game with each fight. Whereas Rousey has had a lot of success but I don’t think her game has changed at all since the first time we saw her fight. We also haven’t seen a tired Rousey fight in the third round to see what she really has. Her fight with Tate was a great performance and she showed great composure when Tate had her back not to mention that Tate came out firing strikes at her. That being said I think we need to see how she performs when the pace slows down, both fighters are tired and beat-up, and it is the third round. Whereas McMann has done that but it is also a style thing… McMann is from a wrestling base and that style is not going to finish a lot of fights, whereas judo has a few more submissions and is a different paced style.
PDG: In other Women’s MMA news since the last time we talked, Cris Cyborg tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. What were your thoughts when you first heard the news?
Shayna Baszler: Cyborg has always been very nice to me when we have hung out so I don’t want it to sound like I am talking a bunch of trash about her but I don’t think that there was anyone who was surprised by the news. I am a big proponent of waiting to judge someone until all the legal crap is taken care of and the fighter gets to present their case because I have fought at big shows and I know how chaotic the testing process can be. So I refrained from saying anything until that process was over but it is what it is. Since then though people have been asking me if she was on the PED’s when we fought and I just want to be clear, whether she was or she wasn’t that isn’t the reason that she won. She beat me that night because I beat myself and PED’s had no bearing on the outcome of that fight.
PDG: Back to your fight with McMann, what advantages do see for yourself going into this fight?
Shayna Baszler: For one I am a finisher and I don’t see anyway that McMann submits me and I don’t think she is knocking anyone out. The only way she wins this fight is if she bores everyone watching to death with lay ‘n pray and no one wants to see that type of fight. I think that her strengths, taking me down and working on the ground, is my world so her strengths play right into my style. So it will be up to her to decide, whether she wants to get beat-up standing or if she would prefer to get submitted on the ground.
PDG: Ok, let’s talk a little gaming; are there any upcoming video games that you are looking forward to playing?
Shayna Baszler: I will probably wait until after my fight but I will eventually be getting Mass Effect 3, the only reason I haven’t got it yet is because I want the Kinect version and I haven’t picked up the Kinect yet. I want to do all of the cool direct my team with the hand signals stuff. The first two games in the Mass Effect series were absolutely awesome. I also want to check out the new/old Halo, those are two of the big ones on my brain right now.
PDG: Combat Evolved or Halo 4 in the fall?
Shayna Baszler: Probably Combat Evolved until Halo 4 is released.
PDG: Cool, we always appreciate your time; is there anything else you wanted to add?
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