Shayna Baszler needs first UFC fight before considering WWE career
JUN 09, 2014 9:12p ET
Shayna Baszler is a pioneer in women's MMA. But if you follow her on any form of social media, you know her love of pro wrestling is nearly equal to her dedication to mixed martial arts.
So would Baszler consider a move to the WWE? Not yet. She still has some unfinished business in the UFC.
"Even if I did, I still have to beat a Brazilian first," Baszler told FOX Sports.
The Brazilian in question would be Bethe Correia, who defeated Baszler's close friend Jessamyn Duke at UFC 172 in April. Baszler, Duke, UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and their other roommate Marina Shafir refer to themselves as The Four Horsewomen. After Correia beat Duke, she held up four fingers and then put down one, signifying she had already beaten one of The Four Horsewomen and was gunning for the rest.
After Baszler and Correia fired some barbs on social media, the UFC acted quickly -- and wisely -- by putting the two of them together in a fight at UFC 176 on Aug. 2 in Los Angeles. It's the perfect pro wrestling storyline for Baszler.
“The thing is even if they called me tonight, I would have to tell them that I have to have this fight. I have to, for the movie, have the UFC fight -- for the movie version of my life.”
"People care about the story about why the fight is happening more than they do about the actual fight," Baszler said. … "The fights that people care about are the ones with a beef, even if it's a fan-made beef."
Baszler, 33, obviously wants a crack at Correia. But more important for her is this will actually be her official UFC debut. She was injured after losing on The Ultimate Fighter 18 last year and had to pull out of a fight with Sarah Kaufman in April with another injury. Baszler (15-8) has been a pro MMA fighter since 2003, a full decade before women were allowed to fight in the UFC.
"It's like, finally!" Baszler said. "If it wasn't one thing, it was another. I had so many curveballs. After all these years, it's finally going to happen."
And that's why if she were to get an opportunity with the WWE, she would have to turn them down -- at least in the short term.
"The thing is even if they called me tonight, I would have to tell them that I have to have this fight," Baszler said. "I have to, for the movie, have the UFC fight -- for the movie version of my life."
Baszler is close to getting her camp into full gear at Glendale Fight Club in California. She just returned from a tour visiting troops overseas in the Middle East and Africa as part of a program run by Armed Forces Entertainment and setup by MMA manager and publicist Amanda Earley. Baszler, Duke, fellow UFC fighter Daron Cruickshank and TUF alum Cody Bollinger taught soldiers some grappling techniques, but mostly they were there to bring some levity and fun.
"I can't even explain it to you how appreciative they are," said Baszler, who was on her second trip with AFE. … "They like having a little piece of home. You don't even know how good it feels."
It's back to business now. UFC 176 is less than two months away. Ironically, WWE brings one of its biggest events of the year to the same venue Aug. 17.
"Sorry I have to burn down Staples Center two weeks before SummerSlam," Baszler said with a laugh.