From time to time, the news editor of Wombat Sports MarQ likes to bring on fellow WMMA media to help get answers to the questions fans have been asking us. Gina Begley of ProWMMANow was the guest on this past week’s Wombat Sports podcast and we fielded your questions.
However, we ran out of time to answer all of them, so here are the one we weren’t able to get to.
Shayna Baszler could fight Rousey in the near future. Your thoughts about the match? Obviously they would need to be at separate camps, but both know each other well now….
Gina Begley (ProWMMANow): I follow Shayna on social media so I can only talk about how I interpret through what I read. And, how I translate everything is, Shayna Baszler has not technically changed camps to Ronda Rouseys camp of Glendale Fightclub.
She still fights under her catch wrestling coach Josh Barnett. Baszler while living in South Dakota fought under her coach Josh Barnett that is in Los Angeles who I believe is based out of Tapout and CSW. I see posting and pictures of him and her that are current on social media, so that leads me to believe he is still her main coach.
It appears Shayna does train at with Ronda at her gym but unless something changes with her next fight against Sarah Kaufman, doesn’t base her camp out of there. I’m not sure changing camps to fight Ronda is really any kind of answer to the question asked. Sorry!!
MarQ Piocos (Wombat Sports): It is interesting to see training partners as possible opponents since both know each other’s tenancies and could be intriguing in terms of how each adjust to their styles.
I am interested in seeing how Baszler handles Sarah Kaufman in their rematch, but I don’t see her beating Rousey at this time. If Baszler defeats Kaufman in an overwhelming fashion, pretty sure people will be talking a possible match, which is something that is very promotable.
Kerry Vera stated she is going back to MMA this year. Should she be signed to the UFC right away or take some fights at Invicta before?
Begley: Kerry Vera has not fought since 2009 so working her way up to the UFC through Invicta seems the most reasonable way to go in my opinion. I don’t expect her to start at the bottom of course but straight to the top doesn’t seem fair either. There are other more well known options that would be more reasonable to get the opportunity to fight for the UFC. Holly Holm, Lauren Taylor, are just a couple of 135ers that I would hope to see there ahead of someone how has not fought MMA in 5 years.
Piocos: I agree with Gina on this one. I really want Vera to work her way up and see some very intriguing matches for her at Invicta. Vera looks like she is the fittest she has been in her life and the only question would be cage rust coming in. If you haven’t seen Vera’s matches I highly recommend you do.
Rumor is Jessica Rakoczy might be dropping to 115. Do you think she can drop and if so, should she get a slot on the upcoming TUF 20?
G.B.: I believe Rakoczy fought at 120 in boxing so it certainly seems within the realm of possibility. I wouldn’t have a problem seeing a second shot at TUF. It could be a really cool spin, but should probably not if the goal is to introduce new faces to UFC fans. I would rather see her face someone without going through the show at 115. If I could match any fight without considering UFC doesn’t have 125 or that they could make 115, it would be Jessica Rakoczy versus Barb Honchak.
M.P.: Rakoczy seems to be in limbo in terms of the UFC. We haven’t seen her matched since her TUF finale loss and knowing Julianna Pena on the shelf, we were hoping to see Rakoczy pick up the slack. Maybe a fight with Sarah Moras is in order?
Back to the question at hand. There is no guarantees that Rakoczy can make 115, but she was the boxing champ at 122 before dedicating her career to MMA. I am still preferring the UFC does open tryouts for The Ultimate Fighter 20, it would be intriguing if they did select Rakoczy to drop and become the first fighter to take on TUF twice.
With a UFC contract already in hand and probably not wanting to leave her kids again for such a long period of time, I don’t see a TUF run happening. However, her dropping to 115 post TUF would make a lot of sense.
Invicta is looking to move out of Kansas City to other markets. What cities are do you think would be a great place for their first card out of the city?
G.B.: Las Vegas seems like one of the most reasonable options for any card. With so many fighters, gyms, and shows it seems like the place for MMA to just happen. Especially if your card doesn’t consist of local fighters to sell your tickets to friends, family, and teammates. Fans will go to vegas, many fighters are already there. Big name gyms are already centered there so you have a base of people to market too. Tuff N Uff is an amateur show that has had a lot of success in Vegas. Las Vegas is the home of entertainment of all sorts seems a reasonable option.
M.P.: I agree that Vegas would be a great place to go. Two other places I would throw in the mix is St. Louis and Chicago.
St. Louis would make an easy transition for the Kansas City based organization since they already have a relationship with the Missouri commission and would be close to home.
Chicago is the biggest city in the mid-west and would provide great and cheap flights for fighters to come in. With the new tv deal, Chicago also has resources to help broadcast the event.
Flyweight Barb Honchak seems to be in Rousey’s situation in terms of suitable contenders. Is there anyone you think should get a shot next?
G.B.: Tonya Evinger is now number 10 on the Unified WMMA rankings at 135 but has fought at 125 once. She seems adimate on social media about wanting a fight any fight. It could be exciting. Other wise, start throwing the ladies at her on the rankings she hasn’t beat yet.
M.P.: InvictaFC president Shannon Knapp told me she is going to start building a contender fast. A match between Nina Ansaroff and newly signed and undefeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk makes sense for a number 1 contenders match. Michelle Ould and #2 ranked Vanessa Porto would also be an intriguing match to set up a contender.