Aspen Ladd to Return Later This Year Against Leslie Smith

Aspen Ladd
Credit: Scott Hirano, Invicta FC

Women’s bantamweight up-and-comer Aspen Ladd should be back in the cage early this year.

Aspen Ladd (6-0), who won her UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 118 in Gdansk, Poland in October, will be returning to the cage soon. When she does, she’ll face off against the tough-as-nails Leslie Smith. That’s according to a new report by MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani. The event in question has yet to be unveiled.

After being forced out of a fight with Jessica Eye at The Ultimate Fighter 25 finale in Summer 2017 due to illness, Ladd finally got in the octagon at UFC Gdansk. There, she defeated Lina Lansberg by TKO. Now, she’ll look to keep her undefeated record, and build a streak in a UFC bantamweight division currently starved for contenders.

Ladd got her start in MMA under the Invicta FC banner, where she fought and won all five of her bouts prior to joining the UFC. Curiously, she never fought for a title in the promotion. Also interesting — Ladd’s first two opponents, Lansberg and Smith, happen to be the exact same opponents UFC women’s featherweight champ Cris Cyborg first fought under the UFC banner. Cyborg fought both at 140lb catchweights.

Smith (10-7-1) has won both her bouts since losing to the feared Cyborg. She’ll enter the fight with Aspen Ladd off a TKO finish of Amanda Lemos at UFC Fight Night 113.