Despite the situation in the women’s bantamweight division, UFC Rochester’s Aspen Ladd says she’s not focused on the title.
Rochester, NY — Undefeated bantamweight prospect Aspen Ladd (7-0) is in an interesting position heading into UFC Rochester. Undefeated in the promotion. Ranked sixth in her division. With Cat Zingano flirting with featherweight, and Raquel Pennington already having fought champ Amanda Nunes, really only Ketlen Vieira and Germaine de Randamie sit ahead of her (and Holly Holm, who will fight Nunes for the title at UFC 239).
Vieira, however, hasn’t fought since March of 2018. de Randamie has fought just once since being stripped of the featherweight title for not defending it.
So Ladd would seem to be on the precipice of a title shot at 135lbs. Only, as she told media members including Cageside Press this week, she doesn’t feel ready for one. “I’m not here chasing a belt. I just started, there’s a lot of tough women in the 35 division,” she admitted. “I’m here just to fight, build my name, and have fun doing it.”
If not a belt, then what would make sense if she remains undefeated at bantamweight? That’s a question Ladd herself isn’t sure of. “That’s a tough one, because they went from giving me Holly Holm, who’s ranked like number 2, it’s like ‘alright sweet, let’s take that fight.'” The Holm fight, of course, fell through, “and now we’re fighting Sarj, who’s coming up and is doing very well at 25. ‘Okay, let’s do that one.’ So I can’t tell you. We’ll see after the fight.”
“Sarj” would be Sijara Eubanks, of course. The pair will throw down for the second time at UFC Rochester. Their first meeting came outside the promotion. Ladd no doubt hopes to repeat that success.
Ladd will likely have her eye on batamweight (and featherweight) champ Amanda Nunes’ next title defense. On that fight, she’s hedging her bets. “Nunes is a beast, man. But Holm, the way she strikes and the way she fights and moves, she could be a very tough opponent for Amanda. But Amanda, it’s hard to see her being beat.”
One thing Ladd isn’t expecting is a lot of featherweight action in Nunes’ future, which could tie up 135lbs.
“No, I think she’s getting to a point in her life where she wants a family, to move on, do her own thing,” Ladd suggested. “She’s accomplished everything she can. So maybe she’ll fight once, twice, three more times, for the money, who knows. But I kind of see her wanting to do like a family thing. I could be totally wrong though.”
UFC Rochester takes place Saturday, May 18 at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, NY. The card airs live on ESPN+, and Fight Pass/TSN in Canada.