Aspen Ladd is ready to begin her new venture with Professional Fighters League (PFL).
MMA Mania has confirmed with multiple sources that Ladd’s promotional debut will take place at the 2022 PFL Championship event on Nov. 25, 2022, in New York City. Welcoming Ladd to the SmartCage will be former Bellator Featherweight champion, Julia Budd, as the two meet in a three-round clash.
Ladd — a former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight hopeful — was released from the promotion following her recent fight cancelation with Sara McMann last month (Sept. 2022). As soon as the departure was made official, Ladd shared that several promotions reached out to her on the same day.
“Since this has happened, it’s been nothing but positive and positive things keep happening since then,” Ladd told MMA Mania. “It just keeps on getting better and better. And obviously, the contract, the format, with the PFL, you’re fighting at contracted rates. It’s the same as you’d be doing for anybody else, depending on what you’re contracted at. But every one of those fights is adding up to a fight where you can make $1 million. It’s kind of a no-brainer.
“The UFC is amazing in many ways and one of the things it’s best at is the platform that it provides,” she continued. “It is the biggest promotion as far as that goes and it’s fantastic at that. So I do think that if you have the option, you should go to the UFC. Build your name. Then a few years down the line, why not test the waters and see what the options are?”
Unfortunately for Ladd, the end of her UFC tenure was mired by weight issues. The insistence to stick with Bantamweight simply came down to no opportunities available in the barren UFC 145-pound division.
In PFL, the promotion is creating its own weight class entirely from scratch in 2023 with Ladd as the lone name to occupy its ranks as of right now.
“I’m not gonna try it again, it’s 145 from here,” Ladd said of Bantamweight. “The reason I was at 135 was because I was not presented with opportunities at 145 and that’s just not what they’re interested in.”
With Ladd’s opponent, Budd, being primarily a Featherweight throughout her career, it’s safe to assume she’ll be a competitor in 2023’s new campaign as well. Budd has fought twice since joining PFL late last year, defeating Kaitlin Young and most recently dropping a unanimous decision to Genah Fabian in May 2022.
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