Ladd’s return to action this year has hit a number of roadblocks. The 26-year-old, who hasn’t competed since a 2019 victory over Yana Kunitskaya, was initially set to face Macy Chiasson at UFC Vegas 32. After a late injury for her opponent, Ladd’s comeback was delayed.
The matchup was kept together and the pair were slated for a second go at meeting in the Octagon at UFC Vegas 38. This time, it was Ladd’s own issues that saw the clash canceled. In an all too familiar situation, the Californian struggled to make weight and her state on the scale was enough for the co-main event bout to be pulled from another card.
Ladd received widespread criticism in the aftermath, including accusations of cheating from former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Miesha Tate. The consistent conclusion throughout the MMA community was that Ladd had to begin fighting at 145 pounds. However, not many would have expected that to come to fruition just two weeks later in a main event clash.
The UFC Vegas 40 card was originally set to be topped by a women’s featherweight matchup between Holly Holm and Norma Dumont. After “The Preacher’s Daughter” was forced to withdraw, the UFC granted Ladd her 145-pound debut. This weekend, she’ll look to put her weight-cutting issues behind her as she aims to secure a meeting with champion Amanda Nunes at a different weight.
While many have questioned the decision to give Ladd her first main event after yet another issue on the scale, Dana White sees it differently. Speaking at the press conference that followed this week’s episode of Dana White’s Contender Series, the promotion’s kingpin asserted that the booking isn’t a reward for Ladd.
“We’re not rewarding her. She’s moving up in a weight class. She’s moving up to ‘45. If we kept her at ‘35 and gave her a main event, that would make sense. The girl’s in shape; she’s here to fight. She didn’t make weight, but she’s gonna move up a weight class now. So I don’t think we’re rewarding her.”
Do you think Aspen Ladd should have been given a main event fight two weeks after missing weight?