UFC Quick Quote: Julianna Pena winning TUF 18 was good for Shayna Baszler's career

Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

Shayna Baszler says the fact that Julianna Pena won The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18 benefits her own career because justice will be that much sweeter when they rematch.

"The initial thing that I felt when Julianna won was, yes, now it will be sweet justice when we rematch. Because it's a jump back. It's not like I have to beat this person and this person and this person and this person and this person. If [Jessica] Rakoczy had won, realistically, I'd need a rematch with Julianna and to fight Rakoczy in order for people to understand who the ‘Queen of Spades' is, but now it's like screw it. I can just jump straight to the top and get that rematch and it's all good. It's good for me career-wise, I guess, that she won."

-- Having competed in Strikeforce and Invicta FC, longtime mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran Shayna Baszler was the relative favorite to win season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), the first-ever edition that included women vying for a six-figure contract with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Unfortunately for "The Queen of Spades," she came across a relatively unknown Julianna Pena in the first round. Many expected Baszler, Ronda Rousey's first pick, to blitz right through "The Venezuelan Vixen," Miesha Tate's No. 1 pick, seeing that Pena headed into the show fresh off two consecutive losses and only had six professional MMA fights to her name. Pena, however, had other plans as she upset Shayna by choking her out in the second round. Julianna went on to win the entire tournament by defeating Jessica Rakoczy at The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale, proving that her victory over Baszler wasn't a fluke. And as both talented bantamweights now find themselves employed by UFC, Baszler tells Sherdog Beatdown Radio that she's confident their paths will eventually cross again. And when they do, she says her justice will indeed be that much sweeter because she'll be defeating the first-ever women's TUF champion. But as evidenced by their first encounter, that will be easier said than done.

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