UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey will put her title on the line Feb. 22 against fellow Olympian Sara McMann.
Ahead of the matchup, Rousey’s teammate Shayna Baszler joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show to discuss Rousey’s judo versus McMann’s wrestling and much more.
Baszler on Rousey’s preparation: “It’s a really quick turnaround, so she had about a week where she took some time off and didn’t have to do two-a-days every day for a bit and kind of relaxed after her last fight and then was right back in the camp. It was just long enough to take a short mental break but not long enough that she got out of shape or anything like that. She’s been charging it hard. … I’ve been having to pretend to be Sara McMann and hop around like Sara McMann does and get caught and beat up. Ronda’s looking sharp. It sounds so cliché, and of course I’m going to say this training with her and stuff, but her boxing [and] everything looks better than she’s ever looked.”
On Rousey’s striking: “She’s paying special attention to her hands because she’s grappled her whole entire life. She’s paid special attention to make up for the gap, and I think it showed in her last fight. I think she’s really going to showcase everything she has for this fight.”
On Rousey’s skills in the clinch: “She has the best clinch in women’s MMA. As far as using it for her game plan, she has the best. If anyone ties up with her, they’re landing on their ass. I don’t care who it is.”
On whether McMann will shoot for Rousey’s legs to take her down: “Everyone knows Ronda’s strength is tossing you from a high tie-up. I think what’s interesting about this matchup that maybe people don’t know is that yes, [in] wrestling, you shoot doubles and singles and you shoot low, but that’s not really part of Sara’s game. Even in her wrestling, she reached for a single, but … most of her throws come from that tie-up, tossing people around, slamming them. I really think if the distance gets closed, it’s going to be a high tie-up. On the chance that she times it right and gets a low shot off on Ronda, Ronda has an answer for her there too. The head wrestling coach at [Glendale Fighting Club] is a three-time Olympian in wrestling. She’s going to be seeing a lot of the same looks, and I’m going to go so far as to say men’s wrestling at the Olympic level is far more competitive than the women’s wrestling. She might be getting even better looks, by some accounts. She’s got answers.”
On how the fight could finish: “I’m one of the few people that doesn’t call the armbar because I train with Ronda enough to know that isn’t the only thing she has. That’s just the thing no one can stop. I really want Ronda to do something else just to show people she has other stuff, but if plan A works, why switch to plan B for no reason?”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 31:48).