As we enter the new year, one of the greatest free agents in MMA is Kayla Harrison. The combat sports world continues to wonder where he will sign, with many options on the table.
In October, Harrison won his second PFL Finals title in dominant fashion, beating Taylor Guarded by submission. Undefeated at 12-0, the two-time Olympic gold medalist has gone on a world tour of sorts, appearing at UFC, Bellator and even AEW events. While professional wrestling may not be an option for her as of now, there is a lot of intrigue as to who will win the bidding war.
Time to look at the realistic options.
With the PFL sharing its programming with ESPN / ESPN + and being one of the top MMA promotions in the world, a big prediction is that Harrison could join the UFC.
UFC President Dana White spoke with TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter and he said that he and Harrison’s team are talking. The UFC even featured Harrison on the big screen at UFC 269, something reserved for his promotion or celebrity fighters. White previously commented that Harrison needs to prove himself, and now believes the only fight he can do is against Amanda Nunes.
As Nunes’ teammate, Harrison would love to take on the former two-time champion.
“Fighting Amanda, it was something I wanted … it’s such a weird thing,” Harrison said on “The MMA Hour.” via MMA Fighting. “Like, I don’t want to fight her, but I want to fight her. I am in a position where I want to be the best, she is the best. It’s not personal, it’s just business. But I also love Amanda, and I think she’s a great person, I think she’s a great mother, a great person, a great champion. I have nothing but good things to say about her, so am I going to go out and say, ‘I want to fight Amanda.’
Nunes lost the UFC bantamweight title to Julianna Peña at UFC 269. That loss shocked Harrison, and he may have derailed those plans. However, “The Lioness” holds the UFC featherweight title. In a sterile division when it comes to talent, Harrison may be the one to step up and bring some life to that division.
Scott Coker has made it known that Bellator has been in talks with Harrison. Bellator has collected young talents over the years and turned them into local stars. The promo would love to add Harrison to the mix.
Harrison is very confident in his abilities early in his career. Coker believes that joining Bellator or the UFC would be the perfect combination to enhance that confidence.
“We had a very good conversation with her, she is a sweet girl”, Coker told MMA Junkie. “She is a great fighter and I think that really in order for her to take her career to the next level, she has to come fight Cyborg or go to the UFC and fight Amanda Nunes or (Julianna) Peña. I think that should be the next step. “
Cyborg, the Bellator featherweight champion, has a five-game win streak. He has defended the title three times. Harrison has called Cyborg a trailblazer before and said he’d love to come for her and for the title. It is unknown when a showdown could occur if Harrison signed, especially when the differences between the two are compared.
Still, there are plenty of fights to be made for Harrison, even if he must move divisions. Competing in the featherweight division once, at Invicta FC 43, Harrison can grow up battling athletes like Leslie Smith, Leah McCourt, Talita Nogueira, and Pam Sorenson.
A dream scenario for the League of Professional Wrestlers is that he gets Harrison, the goose that lays the golden eggs of the promotion. With the PFL, Harrison has grown as a fighter and has earned $ 2 million from the promotion. There is still the possibility that he will sign with the PFL, even for one more year. This comes after the PFL signed former Bellator champion Julia Budd, boxing champion Claressa Shields and other female fighters from around the world.
Still considered an MMA rookie, Harrison can continue to grow with promotion, potentially making another million dollars and then testing the waters of free agency.
That’s what Anderson Franca, his coach, thinks should happen. Even after saying that Harrison can mix with Cyborg, a return to the PFL might be the right thing to do.
“Kayla is an Olympian, she takes on big challenges and she’s ready too,” Franca told MMA Fighting. “If the fight is done [and we say], ‘Kayla, you will fight Cris Cyborg tomorrow’, she will fight her. As a coach, I think she could stay one more year in the PFL and go step by step, but I don’t know how the financial part is, if she will re-sign with the PFL or sign with another organization. I haven’t told him about that yet. “
Another option could be ONE Championship, but there have been no major reports in regards to interest in Harrison. His manager, Ali Abdelaziz, has been investigating all offers, including one from WWE.
Bet makers Have Harrison as the underdog when it comes to potential fights against Cyborg and Nunes. Harrison will have to analyze every aspect of every deal that is offered to him, be it financial or combat.
Where do you think Harrison will end up?