PFL’s Kayla Harrison Wants to Eschew Season Format: “I Want the Big Fights”

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Kayla Harrison PFL 2021 World Championship
Kayla Harrison, PFL 2021 World Championship ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Alex Behunin/Cageside Press

Kayla Harrison is looking to forgo the PFL’s season format is favor of landing the biggest fights possible.

Harrison (14-0), a two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time PFL women’s lightweight champion, has built up her name as the promotion’s biggest star, smashing her way through two consecutive tournaments.

She’s currently en route to a three-peat, with arguably her biggest foil, Julia Budd, being forced out of a regular season match-up with “Judo Kayla” recently, missing the playoffs altogether in the process.

The loss of arguably Harrison’s biggest fight to date was reminiscent of 2019, when the lightweight field included Strikeforce and Invicta FC bantamweight champ Sarah Kaufman. Both women made the playoffs that year, but Kaufman was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Larissa Pacheco.

Speaking to The Underground, Harrison spoke of her motivation to keep grinding in the gym. “There’s always a bigger, badder fish in the sea,” Harrison noted. “Everyone’s time is limited, everyone’s ticket is numbered, and I know that, and I respect that.”

Saying that it won’t be Larissa Pacheco who will take her out this year — should the pair both win their semifinal match-ups, they’ll meet for a third time in the PFL 2022 final — Harrison also revealed that she wants to skip out on the tournament entirely moving forward, in favor of taking the biggest fights.

“I think that going through this season especially, there’s been some other stuff behind the scenes going on. Whatever, life is life. There’s always something going on,” Harrison revealed. “But I think that, 14, by the time I’ll be done with the season it’ll be 16 fights in [to her career], it’ll be time to maybe start [looking at something else]. I want the big fights. I’ve been doing what you would call seasons – I’ve been training twice a day since I was 12 years old. So it’s been 20 years now of putting my body through the mill. And it’s not like I go in and I [take it lightly].”

“I want the big fights. And if that means I have to be patient and wait and not compete in a season, then I’ll be patient and wait,” Harrison added. “It’s not about money, it’s about legacy, and it’s about about testing myself against the best. So I think that this will probably be my last season.”

Harrison’s next assignment comes at PFL 9, where she faces Martina Jindrova.

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