Competing in her first full season with the PFL, Aspen Ladd returns to action on June 16 at PFL 5, where she’s been paired up with Karolina Sobek.
While the fight isn’t exactly a short turnaround, since Ladd has known the date of the fight for a while now, there’s still a relatively small window between her first fight in April, and the meeting with Sobek.
Luckily for Ladd, now competing as a featherweight, she’s no longer killing herself to make 135lbs.
“I don’t really get out of the gym anyway after the fight. With this one, the only difference is when I got home, I got really sick right away, so I had a week where I had to take it easy,” Ladd (10-4) told Cageside Press in a recent exclusive interview. “It’s a little bit different for me at 45. I’m not dying to make the weight class. So it’s just staying basically in the gym and keeping your diet at a maintenance level.”
When it comes to Sobek, Ladd will have a definite edge in both experience and level of competition. “Everybody in the tournament has something that they’re good at, but I have quite a bit of experience,” Ladd noted. “And I think that’ll always be a benefit.”
On the flip side, Ladd, who only found out who her opponent was a couple weeks back, tried “not to get too caught up on the individual. Now I know, and my coaches have looked her up and that kind of stuff.”
Having lost a decision against Olena Kolesnyk at PFL 2, however, the points system employed by the PFL is now a huge factor. And added pressure.
“That’s definitely a new thing. You won’t face that anywhere else but the PFL. The pressure to go out and not only get the job done, but get it done in a certain period of time in order to get the most points and move forward, that is an added pressure. But any fight’s a bunch of pressure. So just a little extra.”
That said, Ladd knows she likely needs six points to move forward into the playoffs, which means a first-round finish. Which has shaped how she views this fight.
“It’s a very big deal to get as many points as possible. The whole point of the fight is to be able to go out and basically treat it like a five minute fight,” Ladd told us. “So hopefully she wants to fight and if not, it doesn’t matter. We’re going to go out and make it happen.”
2023 has been the biggest year to date for the PFL, who have signed the likes of Jake Paul, Cedric Doumbe, and Francis Ngannou. Moving forward, the Super-Fight division, and Pay-Per-View offerings, are anticipated. With Ladd’s profile, there’s always a chance she could be involved, as she was last year in a showcase fight with Julia Budd.
“I haven’t thought about it too much yet, as far as ‘oh I want to get on a massive card with these dudes.’ Because right now my whole focus is on the tournament. But I’m more of a, they say ‘you fight this date, you fight this date.’ If you end up getting on a giant card with those guys, like sweet! It’s an added bonus, it’s a benefit.”
Watch our full interview with 2023 PFL 5’s Aspen Ladd above.