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Kayla Harrison open to fight Twerker ahead of fighting for the UFC title

LockerRoom Team
Calendar Icon29 June 2024

Kayla Harrison, the two-time PFL champion and Olympic judo gold medalist, is well on her way to a UFC title shot. However, she's more than willing to take a detour if the opportunity arises.

Harrison made a triumphant octagon debut this past April at UFC 300, where she dominated Holly Holm. Her PFL titles and Olympic accolades have already positioned her as a top contender in the bantamweight division, with fans eagerly anticipating a showdown with reigning champion Raquel Pennington, who is expected to face Julianna Peña before the end of 2024.

Recently, Ailin Perez, who boasts a 3-0 record in the UFC’s 135-pound division, called out Harrison for a No. 1 contender fight. While Harrison might not need to take this fight to secure her title shot, she remains open to the challenge.

“I’ve heard that too,” Harrison said ahead of Thursday’s 2024 UFC Hall of Fame ceremony in Las Vegas. “The twerker and a judo girl. Listen, I’d fight both of them on the same night, so it’s fine. I’ll fight anyone. I’m not saying no to anybody.”

Harrison added, “Sometimes it’s just a little outrageous, I don’t really know what to say. You’re twerking, I can’t—I don’t know how to handle this. Yes, I will fight you.”

The top of the bantamweight division is currently in flux, with Peña awaiting her match with Pennington, who is recovering from an injury. Harrison is also recovering from an injury, having undergone surgery to repair a ligament in her hand, which subsequently became infected.

In the interim, Harrison has emphasized the importance of maintaining her diet, especially after years of competing at 145 pounds.

“To be honest, I had to have surgery after my fight,” Harrison said. “I had to have a ligament in my hand fixed, and then I got an infection, so to say that I went a little bit relaxed on the diet is an understatement. And it’s crazy how bad I felt. I’m back on it now, thank God, but I didn’t feel good and I didn’t realize how important that part of my discipline is, especially now.

“One-thirty-five is not easy, it’s not a walk in the park, it took 12 weeks of me being superhuman and super focused to make that weight and I have to do it again and again and again and again, so it’s going to be a lifestyle change.”

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Harrison is keen to fight on the same card as the potential Pennington vs. Peña bout, should it be booked within the next six months. However, she remains uncertain about the UFC’s plans for her.

“That’s above my pay grade,” Harrison said. “We’ve got to talk to Hunter and Sean and Mick and Dana. I know that they have a good plan for me. I believe in this company, I believe in their vision. If they need me to smash another skull before I smash [Pennington or Peña’s] skulls, that’s fine.”

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