Aspen Ladd, despite missing weight and seeing a fight fall through less than two weeks ago, has arguably an even bigger opportunity this Saturday at UFC Vegas 40.
Bounced from her bantamweight bout, Ladd moves up to featherweight to take on Norma Dumont in the main event of the Vegas-based Fight Night card.
“It’s been pretty unreal,” Ladd admitted during the UFC Vegas 40 media day this week. “Obviously the last time was pretty terrible, and then coming home from that, I was home for a few days. I was basically disconnected from people, social media and everything, and then I get this call. I was like, ‘that unexpected, but sweet.'”
Having blown weight for a fight with TUF 28 winner Macy Chiasson, Ladd disconnected knowing exactly what was coming her way, in terms of bile from the fans. “I knew that was exactly what was coming. Especially with what we do, we’re very accessible in the medium, and social media-wise, people are always on there. It’s not surprising, when you do well, you do well, and when something bad happens, you get sh*t on.”
Ladd insisted she continued her weight cut right until the very end, trying to shed the last pound. She also reiterated that opponent Chiasson declined the fight, rather than the commission pulling the plug when Ladd appeared shaky on the scale.
It wasn’t just fans that were critical of Ladd blowing weight last weekend. Former Strikeforce and UFC women’s bantamweight champ Miesha Tate was also vocal. On that front, there might be a bit of matchmaking at play.
“She is probably one of the biggest names in women’s MMA, besides Ronda [Rousey] and [Cris] Cyborg. So when she came back, I think all the 35’ers basically wanted a piece of her,” noted Ladd. “And I’m one of them.”
“There’s just a thing where, if somebody else is going through something that’s not very pleasant, I’d rather never make them feel worse or comment on it,” she continued. “It’s like, why? You’re just putting more negativity out there. Other people don’t feel that way. So we’ll see. Maybe we’ll meet down the road.”
As for this featherweight experiment, Ladd doesn’t appear to believe she’s done with 135. But featherweight does have an allure. “45 is very interesting, because right now, there’s not much substance, but I think they’re about to sign Kayla Harrison, at least they’re going to try to. She has a last fight with PFL, and I think they’re going to try to build around her. They want new blood and new faces. So I think over the next couple of years, featherweight, if that happens, is going to flesh out pretty good.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 40 media day appearance from Aspen Ladd above. The event takes place this Saturday, October 16, 2021 at the Apex in Las Vegas.