Monday, January 24, 2022

Miesha Tate: Kayla Harrison Has Potential To Be Next Ronda Rousey

Former UFC champion Miesha Tate says PFL rising star Kayla Harrison has what it takes to become the next Ronda Rousey, but must enter the UFC to reach her true potential.

Harrison, a two-time Olympic gold medal-winning judoka, further staked her claim as the next big thing in women’s MMA with a Rousey-esque demolition of veteran Cindy Dandois at PFL 6 on June 25. The first-round armbar victory saw the 31-year-old extend her undefeated record to 10 fights, a feat which has drawn comparisons to the dominant early career run of fellow former judoka Rousey.

Kayla Harrison Dandois
Kayla Harrison and Cindy Dandois in their lightweight fight at PFL 6 (PHOTO: Cooper Neill / PFL)

Perhaps the most favorable comparison of the duo has come, predictably, from Harrison’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz. Following her latest victory, Abdelaziz declared Harrison “Ronda Rousey 6.0” — his client apparently so good that, in his opinion, she’s skipped four iterations of the former UFC champ.

Hyperbole aside, it’s hard to deny Harrison’s meteoric rise since she made her MMA debut three years ago. In December 2019, she won the PFL women’s lightweight championship. Now, she seems poised to follow in Rousey’s footsteps on the back of a blistering run which has included six wins via first-round finish.

Miesha Tate Says “Phenomenal” Kayla Harrison Must Enter UFC To Reach Potential

When it comes to comparing Harrison and Rousey, perhaps no one is more credentialed than Miesha Tate. The former UFC women’s bantamweight champ lost to Rousey twice in her career, including once for the women’s bantamweight title.

When asked about the duo on Unlocking the Cage with Jimmy Smith, Tate heaped praise on Harrison, saying she has the potential to emulate Rousey’s success. However, she feels the 31-year-old is being held back by fighting in the PFL.

“Look, I think Kayla Harrison is amazing, and she has not even begun to reach, I think, her true potential,” said Tate. “So she has a lot of ground to cover, but I see every path to her covering that ground. Her manager (Ali Abdelaziz) is probably alluding to the potential she has in the future, that ‘She is this, and you’re going to see it.’ Because obviously, to this point, she’s been fantastic, phenomenal, but she’s been in the PFL, and she’s been not able to fight the competition she wants to fight, which is no knock on her whatsoever.”

And Tate feels that perhaps preventing Harrison from fighting in the UFC is the weight cut the natural 155 pounder would need to endure.

“They don’t have her weight division. She had to come down to 145. She’s not a huge advocate for cutting weight. She has a pretty strong stance on not doing that. So anyways, I think she will make that sacrifice eventually, and I think she will become a part of the UFC eventually, and I think she’ll really start to be able to prove what maybe they’re saying right now.

“But at this point, it’s really difficult to make a direct comparison because of the things that I’ve listed before. So look, does she have the potential to be that? I think so. But right now, she hasn’t had the opportunity to be that.”

What do you think? Will we see Kayla Harrison emulate the success of Ronda Rousey?

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