Harrison has made a dominant tear towards the top of the MMA agenda in the past few years, and currently sits as the most sought-after free agent in the sport. It’s easy to see why that’s the case.
The Ohio native is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, having stood on the top of the podium at both London 2012 and Rio 2016, and has continued the form she had as a judoka into her blossoming MMA career. In just 12 fights and three years as a professional, Harrison has racked up a perfect record that includes five knockouts and five submissions.
After experiencing championship glory for the first time in 2019, the 31-year-old repeated the feat in this year’s PFL season. After decimating Mariana Morais, Cindy Dandois, and Genah Fabian with first-round finishes, Harrison secured a second title and $1 million check with a second-frame armbar against Taylor Guardado last month.
Harrison Is Ready To Prove Her Value
Harrison’s latest outing represented the final fight on her PFL contract. Despite her manager Ali Abdelaziz revealing his confidence in another deal with the promotion being secured, Harrison previously admitted the surging organization would have to offer something special to keep her.
The deeper into free agency she gets, the more unlikely another season in the PFL seems. With that in mind, talk of possible moves to Bellator and the UFC have reached the forefront in recent weeks.
Given she currently competes at lightweight, a move to the UFC would see Harrison join a lackluster 145-pound roster, which many believe could be ended in the near future. Having seen Amanda Nunes clear out the weight class, Dana White recently revealed his uncertainty over the future of the women’s featherweight division.
Despite that, Harrison isn’t worried. In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, the American Top Team product claimed she’ll prove to White that she’s worth the investment, and plans on making the UFC kingpin “eat his words.”
“I get it (talk of the UFC dissolving the featherweight division), but also, Dana has said a lot of things before. Look, it’s my job. If I wanna fight in the UFC someday, If I wanna fight at featherweight for the UFC someday, then it’s my job to prove to him that I’m worth the investment and I’m worth the risk. All I can do is go out there and continue to be dominant and continue to be so good that you can’t ignore me. I know that I’ll do that. I know that, he says a lot of stuff, and I know that I’m going to make him eat his words, and he’ll smile when he does it and it’ll be great. I’m not worried about it. That time is coming.”
With reports suggesting the UFC is unlikely to make a strong push for Kayla Harrison at the moment, it seems the Ohio native will have to continue building her profile elsewhere before attempting to reignite the UFC’s featherweight division, although former title challenger Felicia Spencer recently told MMA News that the roster doesn’t need Harrison.
Given her ongoing back-and-forth with Bellator champ Cris Cyborg, perhaps we’ll be seeing Harrison join the Scott Coker-led promotion for 2022.
Would you like to see Kayla Harrison join the UFC featherweight roster soon?