Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey was head coach for The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18 veteran contestant Shayna Baszler. While "The Queen of Spades" came up empty in her first fight on the FOX Sports 1 reality show, she forged a couple of friendships that have changed the course of her mixed martial arts (MMA) career.
She's now living and training with Rousey, as well as TUF 18 gal pal Jessamyn Duke and top prospect Marina Shafir.
None of that would have taken place had Baszler won the tournament and she believes her career is now in a better place. But just because she's shacked up with the reigning 135-pound queenpin, doesn't mean she's abandoned her quest to rule the division.
From her conversation with MMA Fighting:
"Ronda knows that if they called me tonight to fight her tomorrow, I would do it. I tell her every day. Her and Jessamyn and myself, we all know we would fight each other if it came to it. We also know it would have to mean something. ... Ronda and I have even practiced trash talking to each other, we have no problems. You know, Ronda's the titleholder she knows it would be stupid of me to be in the sport and put in all this time just to say Ronda's going to have the belt and I have no intentions of taking it."
It's a refreshing take.
That's because UFC has run into problems in the past when trying to make fights between friends and teammates. Some fighters are so adamant about not competing in-house, they've even dropped weight classes to take themselves out of "the mix" (see Cormier, Daniel).
Not this time.
But how close Baszler can get to the title won't be known until she gets done with Sarah Kaufman, as they hook 'em up for a second time at the TUF: "Nations" live finale inside the Colisee Pepsi Center in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, on April 16, 2014.
For more on that fight click here.