Kayla Harrison Down to Welcome Nunes, Cyborg Back After UFC 300

Las Vegas, NV — “I wasn’t expecting all this. It’s been a magical week,” Kayla Harrison told reporters including Cageside Press following a stellar performance and big win in her promotional debut at UFC 300.

Harrison (17-1) admitted to a roller coaster, emotionally, during camp, but had prayed for internal peace once her fight with Holly Holm arrived. “It’s just a part of the process. But tonight, I really prayed for peace, and I prayed that I would feel peace and I did, and I felt really good inside the cage, warming up. It went really fast, and I think that was good for me peace.”

“Calm, cool and collected” is how Harrison later put it. But it was admittedly a struggle to get to this point. Including the weight cut to bantamweight, where Harrison has never competed. “It was okay. The last pound, I’m not going to lie, was tough. I took a leap of faith here, I really took a big leap of faith. I haven’t weight 135 pounds since I was 16 years old. I walked away from millions of dollars, and not security but it’s a big risk to be here. I believe in myself, I believe in my team, I believe this is my calling, this is my purpose, this is where I’m supposed to be right now, doing what I’m doing, and it’s paying off.”

The question now is whether Kayla Harrison has done enough to earn a title fight against champ Raquel Pennington. Submitting Holly Holm, a former title holder herself, certainly feels that way, even if Julianna Pena may be next in line.

“Yeah. The goal was to go out and make a statement and be so good that that’s what’s next,” Harrison said in response. “I want to be UFC champion by the end of the year, so I hope that I did enough tonight to do that. I hope that I impressed the boss and the matchmakers, so we’ll see.”

Both Amanda Nunes and Cris Cyborg, two Harrison rivals, took notice of her win at UFC 300. Nunes, the former UFC double champ, is currently retired, but talk of a comeback has swirled. Cyborg remains under contract with Bellator, now owned by the PFL, but that promotion has yet to book her a fight.

“I didn’t call Amanda’s name because she’s not the UFC champion. She retired, I thought she was happily retired,” Harrison said backstage at the T-Mobile Arena. “I would love to win a UFC title, and if Amanda wants to come back, I would welcome her with open arms.”

As for Cyborg, who called for the winner of Harrison vs. Nunes, “I would be down for that too.”

Watch the full UFC 300 post-fight press conference with Kayla Harrison above.