- Kayla Harrison, a two-time Olympic gold medalist judoka and two-time PFL champion, has joined the UFC roster as a bantamweight. Her debut fight will be against former champion Holly Holm at UFC 300 on April 13.
- Harrison spent her entire MMA career with the PFL but recently entered free agency. Despite the PFL’s efforts to retain her, she chose to make the move to the UFC.
- Harrison has successfully tested weight cutting in preparation for her UFC deal. Her manager expressed gratitude for her PFL career and excitement about her new chapter with the UFC.
Kayla Harrison, the two-time Olympic gold medalist judoka and two-time PFL champion, has officially joined the UFC roster as a bantamweight, according to UFC CEO Dana White’s announcement on Tuesday. Harrison’s debut in the UFC will be against former bantamweight champion Holly Holm at UFC 300 on April 13 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
This marks a significant shift for Harrison, who spent her entire MMA career with the PFL but recently entered free agency at the end of her contract. Despite efforts by PFL to retain her, the 33-year-old Ohio native opted to make the move to the UFC.
Kayla Harrison Has Done A Test Weight Cut Before UFC Signing
Harrison Has Competed For Most Of Her Career At 155 Pounds
Harrison’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, informed ESPN that Harrison has successfully tested weight cutting in preparation for a UFC deal, expressing satisfaction with the outcome. Abdelaziz conveyed gratitude for Harrison’s remarkable PFL career, acknowledging the pivotal role the organization played in her development. Looking ahead, he expressed excitement about embarking on a new chapter with the UFC.
Meanwhile, Holly Holm, aged 42, is gearing up for a final push towards a UFC championship. Sporting a 4-1 record in her last five appearances, Holm’s lone loss came against Ketlen Vieira by split decision, a result she contested. With two wins over the newly crowned bantamweight champion, Raquel Pennington, in 2015 and 2020, Holm is eyeing contention once again. The victor in the upcoming bout with Kayla Harrison could swiftly enter the title picture. While Pennington is expected to defend her title against former champion Julianna Peña, the UFC has yet to make an official announcement.
During her previous talks with the UFC as a free agent in late 2021, Harrison, who trains at American Top Team in Florida, faced different circumstances. Having expressed reluctance to undergo significant weight cutting, her options in the 145 and 155-pound divisions have been limited. Notably, the UFC has not established a 155-pound division to date.
In an interview with MMA Fighting, Harrison discussed the sacrifice involved with making weight for her UFC 300 debut.
“I mean, 135 will challenge me in ways, like I’m going to have to lose a piece of me to be able to fight at 135 pounds,” Harrison said previously, continuing: “I think just structurally, I carry a lot of muscle. I’m already kind of lean, so I’m going to have to lose muscle. I’m going to have to change my entire lifestyle. I mean, I have already done that to fight at 145.”
“It’s crazy what happens when you take care of your body and eat properly and sleep and recover. I was a knucklehead when I was younger. But I have faith whatever is meant to be, will be.”