Kayla Harrison Touches On Overcoming Mental Struggles Surrounding First Professional Loss

In a recent interview, 2021 PFL champion and Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison touched on the mental struggles that she needed to overcome following her first career loss to Larissa Pacheco back in November 2022.

Harrison (15-1) has been an absolute powerhouse in women’s MMA since joining the PFL, and has dominated the majority of her opponents since her debut. But, in the 2022 PFL championship match, she lost via unanimous decision to Pacheco (22-4) and just did not seem herself.

It seems that this loss presented an opportunity for the extremely decorated combat sports athlete to grow mentally, and really begin to focus on what is import in life, while keeping fighting on the side.

“When you get quiet, and you just sit down, you get still, and you spend time with your spirit, with your soul, with God, it changes your day,” Harrison told MMA Junkie at a recent PFL media day. “You don’t just wake up and you’re like this Mary Poppins jolly human being. But slowly over time, you start to build those days.”

“So focused on being perfect … I have all this money, and I was just sitting there being a robot. I started talking to God and I started having some fun. It really changed my mental health. It’s not rocket science – anybody can do this. Anybody can get a gratitude journal. Anybody can wake up and write three things they’re grateful for everyday.”

This November, Harrison will hope to rebound with her newly developed mentality versus Julia Budd (17-6) at the 2023 PFL Championships

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