Kayla Harrison Recalls Her Ultimatum: Bantamweight Or Miss Historic UFC 300 Card

Kayla Harrison questioned whether she could fight at bantamweight before she decided to leave the PFL and sign with the UFC to face Holly Holm.

Harrison was given an ultimatum of either fighting at bantamweight or missing out on the chance to take part on the historic UFC 300 card for April 13. It is the first time Harrison will compete in the weight class (135 pounds) since she has fought most of her career at 155 pounds. Both her PFL World Championship seasons were at lightweight. The lowest Harrison has ever fought at was featherweight.

Harrison has only fought once at featherweight, beating Courtney King via a second-round TKO in 2020 at Invicta 43. Under the PFL rules, she was not allowed to use her elbows. The victory against King showed Harrison’s formidable ground-and-pound game with her elbows, as she took apart her opponent. 

The two-time Olympic Gold Medalist judoka and two-time PFL Lightweight Champion also had to consider giving up the Cris Cyborg fight. Following PFL’s acquisition of Bellator, Donn Davis was confident a fight could get made. Cyborg went as far as to state she wanted Harrison before retiring. The fight never happened, leaving Harrison with plenty to consider as she takes on Holm.

“It was very clear that if you want to fight here, this is the weight you’re going to fight at, and that was a big mental hurdle for me to get through – just figure out: Can I do this? Is this what I want to do? It’s hard, because most people don’t realize that I’ve been training two-a-day since I was 12 years old. There was definitely a piece of me that was like, ‘F**k that. You’ve done enough. Why would you spend the last part of your career cutting an extra 10 pounds? Like, why?’ Then there was another part piece of me that was like, ‘Well, we grow at the edges of our comfort zone, and this is you being all in. It doesn’t get much harder than this. You’re cutting to a new weight class, you’re fighting in the promotion, and you’re fighting the legend. This is it. You’re either all in or not in.’ I liked that, and I think that brings out the best version of me,” Harrison said 

The MMA fighter’s last bout was a catchweight at 150 pounds; she won a unanimous decision against Aspen Ladd at PFL 10 last year. Holm is a former UFC Bantamweight champion. But at 42, she is not the same fighter she once was. It is an intriguing matchup. Holm has three wins out of her last five fights, including one no-contest. Harrison has dismissed any worries about the weight, though, as she backed herself to perform. 

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“I don’t think I’m going to lose anything. I think we’re going to see the best version of me. I’ve been disciplined. I’ve been dedicated. I haven’t skipped any steps. I haven’t left a stone unturned. My team is all in, I’m all in, my family’s all in, and I think I’m about to shine really f**king bright,” Harrison added

Despite her confidence, MMA fans had a mixed reaction over her chances.

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Aspen LaddCourtney KingCris CyborgDonn DavisHolly HolmKayla HarrisonMMA News