PFL women’s lightweight contender Kayla Harrison is seemingly grateful for her loss to Larissa Pacheco.
The former Judoka has been out of action since her trilogy bout with the Brazilian last November. The two female lightweights headlined PFL’s championship card, but few expected the main event to be competitive. In their prior two outings, Harrison dominated Pacheco, and many figured that would be the case in the third matchup.
Instead, the underdog flipped the script on the undefeated former tournament winner. Harrison and Pacheco went back and forth for five rounds, with the latter picking up the win by unanimous decision. With that, the Brazilian had won the women’s lightweight tournament and handed the former champion the first loss of her career.
Months on from the trilogy, Kayla Harrison has reflected on the upset loss. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, the Judoka admitted that the defeat hurt. However, she’s now grateful for the loss.
Harrison explained that without the loss, she wouldn’t be able to improve. She also likened the experience to a spiritual awakening and admitted that it might be the best thing to happen for her.
“The loss was like a spiritual awakening,” Kayla Harrison stated. “For me, for the longest time, it was either I’d become the best of all time or die from the shame of failing. I would tell myself, if I didn’t win, I was worthless. I was fighting to earn love. That’s how I’ve felt since I was a child. If I wanted respect, then I needed to win. If I wanted love, then I had to win.” (h/t Sports Illustrated)
She continued, “…I’ve moved on. I’m healthy. The loss wasn’t because I didn’t train hard. I put in the work, the game plan was solid, but it just wasn’t my night. The lowest moment is what I needed for me to get where I need to go. You can’t rest on your past victories, but neither can you rest on your past defeats. Professionally, it’s still yet to be seen, but losing to Larissa may have been the best thing to happen to me personally.”
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