Harrison, who is a two-time Olympic Judo gold medallist and winner of the 2010 World Judo Championships, has grown into one of the most talked about women in mixed martial arts since her debut in 2018. After a trio of wins under the PFL banner that year, Harrison competed in the promotion’s first women’s lightweight tournament in 2019.
After victories over Larissa Pacheco, Morgan Frier, and Bobbi Jo Dalziel ascended her to the season’s final, the 31-year-old won the 2019 PFL Women’s Lightweight Championship with a second victory over Pacheco. And after two first-round victories in 2021 extended her perfect record to 10-0, Harrison is well on her way to back-to-back championship glories.
Given her utter dominance across her career so far, which has featured four knockouts and four submissions, Harrison’s stock has understandably risen exponentially, and talk of a switch to a promotion like the UFC is as present as ever. And having previously revealed her desire to become the biggest free agent in MMA, a departure certainly seems on the cards.
In an interview with MMA Mania, Harrison revealed what the rising promotion must do in order to retain her services beyond this season. According to the Ohio-born lightweight, it will take worthy competition or a hefty check to keep her inside the PFL cage.
“Obviously, I have these next two fights in front of me. These are the most important things. I gotta go out there and I have to dominate and instill my will. I’ve also come to the realization that if PFL and I are going to negotiate, and if they’re unable to bring in new talent or whatever, they’re going to have to offer me life-changing money in order for me to be willing to give up my chance at a legacy.” (h/t MMA Mania)
Nevertheless, Harrison says she is focusing on her fighting, and leaving the negotiations to her team.
“That’s kind of where I’m at mentally. I know the PFL is negotiating with my manager now. That’s stuff that I let them deal with. I have a job to do. I’m going to go out there and kick ass and chew bubble gum. The rest will work itself out. I have no doubt if I do everything right, the rest will work itself out.”
After dominant victories over Mariana Morais and Cindy Dandois in recent months, Harrison advanced to the 2021 PFL playoffs atop the women’s lightweight ladder on 12 points alongside fellow 2019 finalist Larissa Pacheco.
In the main event of the August 19 event, the 31-year-old will battle City Kickboxing’s Genah Fabian for a place in this season’s 155-pound final. The pair were scheduled to meet two years ago, but a tough weight cut forced the New Zealander to withdraw from the bout.
Who would you like to see Kayla Harrison face if she left the PFL for another promotion?