Besides Baszler, LaRosa was the only other contestant on "TUF 18" to have MMA experience dating back to the early-2000s.
With a fellow veteran by her side, fighting for a shot at UFC glory, Baszler was hoped LaRosa would succeed in winning her bout to get into the house.
"I invited Josh Barnett too, and if you listen during my fight, you can hear him yelling. He and I have always had a good athlete/coach dynamic," Baszler said of the experience. "He knows where I’m going, and I listen to everything he says. It was a blessing to have him there. Closed the ring off, took my girl down, drowned her. Easy peasy, another day at the office.
"Then Tara fought. And lost. I was probably just as devastated as her. One of my closest friends, and the one I was depending on to keep me sane. They didn’t show it, but I lost my shit. Cried. I’m not a crier. I won’t lie, in those moments of realizing she wasn’t going to be there, I was worried I would be the one to crack and go insane in that house."
Baszler and LaRosa fought in 2007 in Costa Rica, when there wasn't much more on the line than a couple hundred dollars.
They are both veterans who have been at it long before the prize was a six-figure UFC contract. Both LaRosa and "The Queen of Spades" were hungry when there were just crumbs to go around, not a hearty feast with thousands of dollars on the line.
And that's why Baszler took it so hard when LaRosa lost. She knows how hard LaRosa has worked through the years, and she felt some camaraderie towards the other veteran striker fighting for a shot in the house.
Baszler admits she wanted to be on Rousey's team because it would help her become more well-rounded.
"I wanted to be on Ronda’s team, just because I had worked and competed with Miesha Tate before. I think our styles are so similar, I just thought I would come away with more in my toolbox after training with Ronda," Baszler said. "Something different. Such a different style than me, but same basic game plan: Take people’s limbs home. I was stoked and honored to be her first pick."
Baszler, who will be blogging each week during the season for The MMA Corner, fights Julianna Pena on next week's episode.