Could Kayla Harrison Join The UFC?
Kayla Harrison, the 2019 women’s lightweight champion of the Professional Fighters League, is looking to make her next move. The PFL recently cancelled its entire 2020 season, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Current Situation
Despite PFL’s monthly stipend, Harrison said she can’t be out of competition too much longer. Speaking to ESPN, Kayla said that she’s not prepared to sit on the sidelines for over a year.
“The only thing you can’t buy in life is time. The one thing I can’t ever get back is time. And I can’t afford to take 15 months off in the prime of my career. I don’t fight for money, I don’t fight for anything other than the glory, the legacy, the fact I want to be the best in the world at what I do.”
PFL CEO Peter Murray, told ESPN that stand-alone events may be a possibility.
“We would never say never, but we’re focused on rolling out this plan right now. As we evaluate the landscape, we’ll continue to be opportunistic when it comes to the potential around special events, but that’s not our focus at this time.”
Harrison, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in judo, still has two fights remaining on her PFL contract. Having last fought on December 31st, 2019, she may have no choice but to move down to 145lbs and compete in the UFC’s women’s featherweight division. Most major promotions have postponed events with the exception of the UFC.
Speaking to MMA Junkie in March, Harrison said she may have no choice but to move down a weight class.
“I firmly believe in not cutting weight. I firmly believe in the lifestyle that I have. But obviously I understand that if I want to go down as one of the greatest of all time, I’m going to probably have to fight at 145, and that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make in order to reach the goals that I’ve set for myself.”
The UFC events are set for May 9th, May 13th, May 16th and 23rd in Jacksonville, Florida, after the state government listed sports organisations with an international audience, as an essential business.
This allows pro wrestling leader WWE, which has a performance center in Orlando, to continue with TV tapings and UFC soon followed suit.
Should the PFL not honour her contract, Harrison said she will be looking at other organisations. UFC’s closest competitor, Bellator MMA, won’t hold events until at least June.
Should Harrison sign with the UFC, there would be calls for the 29 year to face the UFC bantamweight and featherweight champion, Amanda Nunes. The PFL champion cites ‘The Lioness’ as the main reason she started training at America Top Team.
“She’s my role model,” Harrison said when asked about Nunes. “She is one of the greatest combat athletes of all time and she’s who I aspire to be.
“I went there for a week when I was trying out different gyms … I sparred her, and I had never been whupped on like that by a female. And I was like, ‘Oh, this is where the best in the world is. This is where I need to be.’ I remember the next day, I had bruises all over my body, even on my stomach. I was like, ‘How? What? Did I get hit by a truck?'”
While Harrison isn’t ruling out a fight with Nunes, she doesn’t believe it will happen any time soon.
“I don’t think that’s any time soon. And if it does happen, you know, my hope is we can do it with mutual respect.”
Would you like to see Kayla Harrison vs Amanda Nunes?