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Aspen Ladd insists UFC Vegas 40 headliner was not a reward — ‘Use your brain a little bit’

UFC Fight Night: de Randamie v Ladd Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

No. 3-ranked bantamweight contender Aspen Ladd will battle featherweight bruiser Norma Dumont on short notice — thanks to an injury suffered by Holly Holm — in the UFC Vegas 40 headliner on ESPN+ this Sat. night (Oct. 16, 2021 inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The booking came as a surprise in the wake of Ladd’s removal from the UFC Vegas 38 lineup earlier this month in “Sin City,” which came after the former Invicta star was unable to make weight for her Macy Chiasson fight. Just don’t call it a reward.

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“We were the ones that were ready to take it,” Ladd told MMA Junkie. “I mean, you’ve got to use your brain a little bit there – a little bit of deductive reasoning. After the last one, you think they called me first? No, they called other people, and it’s a dangerous opponent on short notice. Nobody else took it. We did, so we get the opportunity.”

It’s been nearly two years since the previously-injured Ladd (9-1) last stepped foot inside the cage, a technical knockout victory over Yana Kunitskaya at UFC on ESPN 7. As for Dumont (6-1), she’s coming off back-to-back wins over Ashlee Evans-Smith and Felicia Spencer.

“As soon as Holly fell out — and I don’t know who they called first, so I’m assuming they probably called other people, but Norma is a dangerous opponent — I didn’t know anything about her,” Ladd continued. “I didn’t know it was five rounds. I didn’t know it was a main event. I just knew that Holly was out and the fight was ’45, and it was like, ‘All right, sweet. This feels kind of like fate. Let’s do it.’”

To see the rest of the UFC Vegas 40 fight card and ESPN+ lineup click here.