by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
(Photo courtesy ProElite.com)
“I’m out there to make a statement now,” says women’s 135-pound fighter Shayna “Queen of Spades” Baszler after her recent impressive win over Tama Chan at last Saturday’s ShoXC Challenger Series event.
Five years and thirteen fights into her MMA career, Baszler feels now is her time to shine and become one of the recognized best young fighters in any weight division, regardless of gender.
Backing up her assertion has been a year long four-fight undefeated streak, in which she has dominated her opposition with a flair and bravado becoming of any true entertainer, including her win over Tama Chan last Saturday.
Chan, well known for her entertaining style, started off the match-up with a flying punch, but from there it was all downhill for the Japanese fighter. Baszler wasted no time in taking her opponent down multiple times, including a Josh Barnett-esque belly-to-back suplex, which lead to one of the most memorable submissions in recent memory, a twister-like neck crank secured from Chan’s back.
“I feel really great about how it went, because it was entertaining and I think I made a statement,” stated Baszler of her win over Chan. “The game plan we had going in I kind of threw out the window, and that’s kind of disappointing in a way I guess, but other than that, it was awesome.
“I knew I would be able to hit that submission. I don’t know how I knew, but I could feel it, so I threw (the original game plan) out the window knowing that I could land a really cool submission that people would talk about.”
As pleased as Baszler is with her performance in the fight, her desire to become a complete fighter has her already focused on what she needs to work on before she returns to action.
“I’m not really happy with my stand-up at all,” she admitted. “I think once we got on the ground the first time I got too tunnel-visioned on that submission and other things went kind of out the window.
“I have a lot of confidence in my stand-up, but for some reason, I don’t know what happened, and I’m not really happy about it. So if I were to take something from the fight that I want to work on, it would probably be my footwork and lateral movement.”
Now that Baszler has won all three of her fights for ShoXC, the question arises of when she will make her move up to the bigger EliteXC shows.
“They haven’t talked to me about that more than the ‘someday’ type thing,” she said. “It’s definitely a goal and definitely something I want.
“That’s kind of why I came out with a bang. I wanted to make a statement to be on those shows.”
And what does Baszler think about less experienced fighters getting opportunities on EliteXC’s Showtime and upcoming CBS broadcasts?
“That is something that is very frustrating to me because I’ve put my time in and I think I deserve a shot on those shows,” she replied. “There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be pushed. I put on exciting fights; I finish everyone they put in front of me, so there’s nothing really else I can do.
“If they want Gina Carano and Kaitlin Young to fight each other on CBS, that’s fine, I’m not asking for a specific fight, but I just feel like I should have a push and be on along side these girls, I believe.”
As Baszler puts it, if she continues to do as she has been, there’s no way any promotion could hold her back from getting the breakthrough she’s worked hard to achieve.
“I feel like I’m at a stage in my career where I’m only going to get better,” she stated. “So I’m going to do whatever it takes, there’s no more ‘nice’ Shayna anymore.
“I’m going to put on exciting fights and make sure everyone knows who I am by the time they leave when I’m on a card. If the fans ask for it, then there’s nothing the organization can do to ignore it.”
As for what Baszler wants for the remainder of her year, revenge and aspirations to continue to move onward and upward are firmly affixed in her sights.
“The rematch with Tara (LaRosa) is number one on my personal radar,” exclaimed Baszler. “I don’t think I put on my best performance against her (last February in BodogFight), and I think Tara and I would be an all-out, bang-up war. I think that’s a great fight for people to see.
“As far as what I want, I always want to fight the best. If you’re a fighter and you don’t want to fight the best out there, you should really question your motives for being in this sport. I’ve fought the best and I’ll fight them again, I’m not afraid of anyone.”
Should she continue on the path that she has blazed for herself over the last year, 2008 could very well become the year Baszler truly breaks out and puts women’s MMA on notice that she belongs right up there with the best of them.
“I got to thank Sinful, Room 101 Silver, Cryogel, ESP, the Sioux Falls Rollerdolls, Josh, John, Bruce and all my training partners back home,” closed out Baszler.
“I have to thank all the fans; they’ve been really responsive about my last fight. They’re more to come, so keep your eyes open and make sure you tune in every time I fight.”