Regarded as a pioneer in the world of women’s mixed martial arts, Shayna Baszler has traveled a long and storied road that finally has itself an Ultimate Fighting Championship destination.
On Saturday, it was announced that Baszler, who currently trains at the Glendale Fighting Club, will take on Sarah Kaufman at the “TUF Nations” finale on April 16 at the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City.
Baszler, the Queen of Spades, sports a 15-8 record and has fought many of the industry’s top names throughout the years and in the majority of the top organizations that housed women’s MMA, including Elite XC, Strikeforce and, most recently, Invicta FC.
The 28-year-old Kaufman (16-2), a former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion, holds a unanimous decision victory over Baszler, which came in June of 2009 under the Strikeforce banner. Kaufman will fight for the second time in the UFC, as the noted striker lost a razor-thin split decision to Jessica Eye in October of last year that has been overturned due to a failed drug test by Eye.
Baszler, 33, last fought officially in January of 2013, but thereafter was a member of “The Ultimate Fighter’s” 18th season, which was the first in which women were contestants and in which women coached. Baszler was a part of UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey’s squad.
Though Baszler, noted for her all-around game and submission creativity, lost in the opening round of the “TUF” tournament, the show served to phenomenally grow Baszler’s fanbase and also led to her and fellow teammate Jessamyn Duke training in Glendale under the tutelage of GFC’s Edmond Tarverdyan and alongside Rousey and budding amateur Marina Shafir. The foursome has subsequently nicknamed itself the “Four Horsewomen,” a nod to the former professional wrestling stable the “Four Horsemen” that was at its peak in the National Wrestling Alliance in the 1980s, led by the likes of Ric Flair and Arn Anderson.
Baszler, whose career is more than a decade long, was previously nursing a reported ankle injury that stalled her UFC debut following her time on “TUF.”
February was already slated to be a hectic month for the GFC contingent, as Shafir is fighting Sunday in Los Angeles in an amateur bout and Rousey will defend her title for a third time on Feb. 22 at UFC 170 in Las Vegas against Sara McMann, another former Baszler foe.
Now, the GFC has two UFC bouts scheduled for April, with Duke set to fight Bethe Correia on April 26 in Baltimore as part of UFC 172 and Baszler-Kaufman set for April 16 on a card that will air on Fox Sports 1.
For more information, see ufc.com.