Kayla Harrison’s immediate future in MMA is currently unclear, including which division she will compete in.
Kayla Harrison has been a rising star in the MMA world for the past few years. As a seasoned Olympic judo champion, Harrison was a top prospect when she decided to switch to mixed martial arts. The expectation was fulfilled when Harrison joined the PFL and started winning. She has won the PFL lightweight championship for two years in a row and may be looking to make a big move.
Rumor has it that Harrison, while likely to re-sign with the PFL, may be heading elsewhere. She wasn’t shy about wanting to join the UFC, but it was a matter of timing. Harrison primarily fought at 155 pounds with one successful fight at featherweight.
The highest UFC weight class for a woman is 145 pounds, but if she gets a spot on the UFC roster, could a bantamweight title be an option? Harrison spoke about this in an interview with ESPN.
“I’m considering moving up to bantamweight,” Harrison said. “I heard that Julianne said she would go up to 145 pounds if she gets paid enough, so that’s good news. That means I don’t have to cut off my hand. … I want to be the best. Everyone is talking about her. Why not? However, I have to climb one mountain at a time. Whichever mountain is next.”
The reality that Harrison will be able to drop the weight to 135 pounds seems unlikely, but in the future it is quite possible. If she joined the UFC, her home would be featherweight. A fight with Amanda Nunes would be one of her most exciting fights in the weight class, but Giuliana Peña stepping up is likely to be of interest to the fans as well.
After a round of trash talk between Harrison and Peña after UFC 269, Peña expressed his willingness to fight Harrison if Harrison decided to sign with the UFC and could drop down to 135 pounds.
While there is an option, no deal with the UFC has been announced. As the winner of the PFL season over the past two years, Harrison has taken home $2 million and could win another million with three peat, a big prize to be left behind if she signs elsewhere.
“Three years ago I would have said legacy,” Harrison said. “That’s all I can say… roughly. My advisors care about security. Obviously now I have two children, so for me, no matter how hard it is, safety is paramount. I have to make sure. There are no guarantees in this life. There is no certainty. Tomorrow I might break my neck and never fight again. Security is important. But if I can find a way to keep it safe and continue to build on my legacy, I think it’s a winner.”
Do you think Harrison should stay in the PFL or take the opportunity in the UFC?