PFL lightweight champion Kayla Harrison, who can make the featherweight limit without issue, is undefeated at 13-0 with 10 finishes and one of the biggest names not signed to UFC, despite recent efforts from Dana White and Co. to land the Olympic gold medalist.
But is she one of the sport’s pound-for-pound greats?
Harrison has faced subpar competition in her four years of cage fighting, simply because most of the top female fighters in the sport are already signed to rival promotions. UFC has Amanda Nunes and Julianna Pena, Bellator MMA has Cat Zingano and Cristiane Justino.
Just don’t get too hung up on that “Harrison vs. Cyborg” talk.
“I don’t really care about this fight,” Harrison’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, told MMA Junkie. “This fight will probably never happen. And even if this fight happens, nobody gives a shit. That’s my opinion. Because Kayla’s Kayla. She’s undefeated. She’s the best female fighter in the world, and in my opinion a pound-for-pound great right now. She doesn’t need to prove anything to anybody. Cyborg needs her. She doesn’t need Cyborg. She’s making six figures, seven figures every fight. She’s happy. She’s going to beat whoever they give her.”
I doubt Cyborg needs Harrison (or anyone else) after this contractual windfall.
Harrison is a decorated athlete with obvious skill but as we learned from Ronda Rousey, Olympic medals in judo don’t amount to much when power-punching strikers start dropping bombs from all angles. The 26-2 Justino has 20 knockouts in 26 wins against two losses across a span of 17 years in the fight game.
Perhaps PFL and Bellator MMA can find a way to co-promote a pay-per-view (PPV) “super fight” between Harrison and Justino but it sounds like Abdelaziz is no longer interested in making that happen. That tells me he either hates money or thinks Harrison would lose, because there is no showdown outside of UFC that can top that potential pairing.