Kayla Harrison reveals that uncertainty with tournament and Cris Cyborg’s future could lead to missing all of 2023: “Just trying to stay patient”

By Josh Evanoff - April 5, 2023

Former PFL women’s lightweight tournament winner Kayla Harrison is unsure of her future.

Kayla Harrison, PFL

The Judoka has been out of action since her trilogy bout with Larissa Pacheco last November. While the pair headlined PFL’s maiden voyage on pay-per-view, few expected the matchup to be competitive. In their previous two matchups, Harrison dominated and won every single round.

However, their third outing was much different than the two proceeding contests. The Brazilian gave a spirited effort, as Harrison struggled much more than anticipated. Ultimately, it was Pachecho who got the nod by unanimous decision, winning a million dollars and the women’s lightweight tournament in the process.

Months on from that bout, Larissa Pachecho is preparing for her return to the cage. The Brazilian is set to headline PFL 2 against Julia Budd this weekend, but Kayla Harrison’s future is still yet to be decided. The former Olympian discussed what could be next in a recent interview with MMA Fighting.

There, Harrison revealed that she initially planned to compete in the women’s lightweight tournament for the fourth straight season. However, those plans fell through, as have early talks for a clash with Cris Cyborg. As of now, Harrison has admitted that she has no idea when she will fight next.

Kayla Harrison

Kayla Harrison discusses a return to the cage

“I said pretty much after the fight, ‘I need to fight in the season,’” Kayla Harrison stated. “Everything I said was out the window, I was like, ‘F*** it, I’m going back.’ But that’s not the plan for me. I’m grateful that it didn’t happen. [The time off has] been good. It’s different. I’ve been fighting my whole life. I’ve been doing two-a-days since I was 12 years old. Taking care of me, getting better in the areas I need to get better at, and also spending time with the people I love has been really good for me.” (h/t MMA Fighting)

She continued, “Only God knows [when I’ll fight next]. Obviously, I wanted to fight in the season because I wanted the rematch, and yeah, I wanted the rematch but that’s not going to happen. That’s not the PFL’s plan for me. They’ve been in talks with [Cris] Cyborg. I don’t know where Cyborg and her team stand. One minute it’s boxing and then it’s back to Bellator, and then it’s PFL possibly, so I’m just trying to stay patient and stay ready.”

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Kayla Harrison Professional Fighters League (PFL)