PFL 2: Kayla Harrison Admits She Has the MMA Bug After Debut Win

Kayla Harrison vs. Brittney Elkin, PFL 2
Kayla Harrison vs. Brittney Elkin, PFL 2 Credit: Professional Fighters League

With her MMA debut behind her (an arm-bar finish of Brittney Elkin within a round), Kayla Harrison admits that she’s caught the MMA bug.

Kayla Harrison lived up to the expectations at PFL 2 on Thursday in Chicago. One of the hottest prospects in MMA over the past year, the two-time Olympic Gold Medalist had a lot of eyes on her in her debut fight. Yes, it came against Brittney Elkin, who sported a less than .500 record coming in. And yes, Harrison is fighting at lightweight, which isn’t exactly the deepest of divisions for women. While the UFC has struggled to build a 145lb female class, 155lbs seems almost out of reach.

Almost. Because Harrison, with a few more wins, could be “that” fighter. That drawing card, that people tune in to see. And if you have that drawing card, you can build around it. Then again, there’s also the possibility of her moving down. In any case, speaking to reporters following PFL 2 at the Chicago Theater, Harrison admitted that she’s got the MMA bug now.

“What a rush, huh? Crazy!” she exclaimed.

“Definitely not total comfort zone,” she admitted of her performance on Thursday in the Windy City. “I made a lot of mistakes. Wasn’t patient, didn’t really stick to the game plan like I should have. But I think that’s probably the most alive I’ve felt since 2016, and that’s the most Kayla I’ve felt in a a long long time. So it was absolutely worth it, can’t wait to get in there and do it again.”

Eager to get back in the gym and train, Harrison highlighted her striking as an area for improvement. “Obviously my judo and my instincts from years of doing the same thing over and over and over again took over, but I don’t want to just be a judo player who gets in the cage,” she told the assembled media. “I want to be the best MMA fighter in the world.”

“It’s been quite a ride, and I’m just glad it’s over!” she said of the night in the end.

As for when she wants to go again, Harrison answered with “the sooner the better.” With her contract stipulating a fight every four months, she’s aiming for October.

“I’m ready,” she said. “I don’t have time to mess around. I think the more I fight, the more experience I get, the more comfortable I’m going to get inside that cage.”

Going back to her striking, she confessed that “I was not impressed with my striking. Obviously being a grappler, being a judo player, it’s always going to be something I struggle with.” That said, she knows she has room to grow. “I feel like there’s so much room for improvement. This is just the beginning of my career, and my coaches keep calling me an embryo. It’s true, I’m an embryo, I’m a baby in this thing.”

“10,00 hours of throwing jabs will do the trick,” she joked, having compared herself to a zombie in terms of her striking.

As for the question of making 145lbs (the featherweight limit; Harrison’s debut came at lightweight), she said that “I’d like to” in terms of making it to the weight class. Citing a need to talk to her coaches and managers, she even suggested a 150b catch weight.

“I’m not looking forward to 145, but if you want to be the best, you’ve got to make sacrifices” she added.

Catch the full PFL 2 post-fight scrum with Kayla Harrison above!