Aspen Ladd Hopes PFL Brings Women’s 145 Back Next Year

Coming out of a “very grindy, very physically intense” fight camp, featherweight Aspen Ladd is in Paris, France for a Friday showdown with Ekaterina Shakalova at Bellator Paris.

That would be Ladd’s Bellator debut, a situation that came about after the PFL acquired Bellator MMA last year, then opted to drop the women’s featherweight division from their tournament format in favor of the flyweights.

Ladd admits that her initial reaction to the news was far from positive, having only been with the PFL a short time before the shake-up.

“The first reaction was disappointment because I’d just fought my first season, I’m used to how it works now, so like alright, go back for round two. So I was disappointed,” Ladd (11-5) told Cageside Press in a recent exclusive interview. “But then, I was curious more than anything else. Like how is it going to happen, is Bellator being absorbed? Are they running independently? Where am I fighting, how am I fighting? What are the rules I’m fighting under? So figuring out all that kind of took up my time, and it wasn’t disappointment, it was curiosity.”

Curious or not, however, Ladd would like to return to the PFL some day, and preferably soon, for another featherweight tournament.

“Ideally I’d like to see them do what they did with the 125’s last year, when they had the European season, they took the champion from that and threw her in the tournament this year,” Ladd exclaimed. “They took the best from the 125’ers in Bellator, threw them in the season. So I would like to see something similar to that with the 45’ers. Have us all fight it out, take the best of the best, throw us all in a season next year. That would be my perfect world, that would be ideal. But I really don’t know what’s going to happen basically.”

Aspen Ladd also touched on comparisons between herself and Abby from The Last of Us.

“It’s a flattering one honestly. It doesn’t bother me in the least,” said Ladd. “I’m not a gamer myself, but because I get called that on a daily basis, obviously I’m very aware of the character. And yeah, I can see the resemblance too.”

Watch our full interview with Bellator Paris featherweight Aspen Ladd above.