The Aspen Ladd fight sweepstakes have begun now that she is no longer facing Holly Holm at UFC 235. The first two vocal challengers are former and current Invicta FC champions in Jackson-Wink products Yana Kunitskaya and Sarah Kaufman.
Surprisingly, it was announced at the UFC 235 pre-fight press conference this past Thursday that the top-10 bantamweight contender clash between the rising Aspen Ladd and former champion Holly Holm had been canceled.
With each now expected to get separate opponents at different dates, it has become time to speculate and for others to speak up.
In Holm’s case, it appears that she could very well see herself competing once again for a title next opposite current bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes. A fight that would presumably headline UFC 237 which takes place in Brazil on May 11.
However, this leaves Ladd confused without an opponent.
Thankfully for her, she has some top fighters calling her name. Both of which happen to be championship-caliber teammates of Holm.
On Sunday, it was former Invicta FC champion Yana Kunitskaya, who is actually set to face Ladd’s teammate Marion Reneau at UFC on ESPN+ 4 on March 9.
“Hey, Aspen Ladd. So sorry that your fight got canceled. My focus now is with my upcoming fight in March. But after that… I am extremely interested to face you!” Kunitskaya tweeted.
So sorry that your fight got cancelled. My focus now is with my upcoming fight in March. But after that…I am extremely interested to face u !!!
— Yana Kunitskaya (@YanaKunitskaya1) February 3, 2019
Ladd, of course, would respond showing her appreciation for the offer.
“Yana is a very game opponent, I respect her and any fighter who is willing to fight me. There is no need for criticism and there is no easy money in this sport.”
And to the surprise of no one, the current Invicta 135-pound champion continues her search for a fight with anyone.
When Kaufman first heard the news, she immediately dropped her name in the hat. Ladd wouldn’t end up responding until it was pointed out to her, which led to her reason of avoidance being due to Kaufman not being in the UFC.
Obviously, that’s a fair reason, but one that Kaufman had a response for.
For the record, there was 1 Canadian 100% ready to take the fight. If I were in @AspenLaddMMA 's situation (and I was with 3/4 UFC fights) I would have begged to sign anyone to keep me fighting (Eye, Smith and Shevchenko) #justsaying https://t.co/GCIlybVAnj
— Sarah Kaufman (@mmasarah) February 5, 2019
As one of, if not the most underrated female fighter of all time, it’s hard to deny that Kaufman shouldn’t be back in the organization she left in December 2015.
The fight makes sense for each fighter, it just depends on if the UFC will make it happen.