Kayla Harrison versus Cris “Cyborg” Justino is one of those fights that just makes too much sense. Unfortunately, it seems nowhere close to happening any time soon.
The two-time Professional Fighters League (PFL) Lightweight champion, Harrison, is set to try and capture a third straight $1 million dollar title this weekend (Fri., Nov. 25, 2022) at the 2022 PFL Championship in a trilogy bout against Larissa Pacheco. In her flawless 15-fight run thus far, Harrison’s biggest criticism has been her level of competition. Cyborg received flack during her career for similar reasons up until reaching Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in May 2016.
Currently the Bellator Featherweight queenpin, Cyborg has begun dabbling into the boxing world while she awaits her next challenger to be sorted. From Harrison’s seat, she feels Cyborg has no room to talk when throwing shade during the back-and-forths they’ve had online.
“Who has like a crazy awesome [resume] ... like Amanda [Nunes], okay?” Harrison said on The MMA Hour. “Amanda beat Ronda [Rousey] when Ronda was hot s—t. Amanda beat Valentina [Shevchenko], Amanda beat Cyborg. She beat all of these — but like Cyborg, what are we talking about? Who has she beat that I haven’t beat that’s like, ‘Oh my god. She beat that person’? That was 100 years ago [that she beat Gina Carano].”
Equally dominant during her time in the sport, Cyborg’s lone defeat outside of her professional debut came to Nunes at UFC 232 in Dec. 2018. From there, the 37-year-old went on to join Bellator and has won six in a row.
PFL recently boosted its roster with the signing of former UFC Bantamweight contender, Aspen Ladd, who will join the 2023 Featherweight season. Ladd debuts for the promotion the same night as Harrison and Pacheco square off, and is anticipated to someday be a possible challenge for the Olympic gold medalist.
“I think Pacheco would blast her (Ladd) into a million pieces,” Harrison said. “Are you kidding? I think Pacheco beats Cyborg right now. I’m not just saying that. I know that she’s an excellent fighter. She’s a great fighter, she’s very good.”