Exclusive: Dakota Ditcheva Picks Between World Title Or $1 Million, Talks PFL 2024 Season And Admiration For Kayla Harrison

"Dangerous" is focused on achieving her goal as she gears up for the upcoming PFL season.

Dakota Ditcheva
Dakota Ditcheva - Image credit @dakotaad_ Instagram
  • Dakota Ditcheva discussed her European championship win and how she’s been preparing for the PFL world season
  • “Dangerous” shared her thoughts on Kayla Harrison
  • The reigning PFL Europe flyweight champ only wants to be the NO. 1 female fighter in the world

PFL Europe flyweight champion Dakota Ditcheva is laser-focused on proving that she the best woman fighter in the world and ready to take on bigger challenges in the 2024 PFL season.

Dakota learned a lot

In an exclusive interview with Middle Easy, “Dangerous” reflected on the things she learned from the European season. According to Ditcheva, she is giving more emphasis on the mental aspect of her game heading into the PFL’s upcoming tournament.

“I don’t know and I’m not thinking too much about it [the 2023 European season],” Ditcheva said. “I’m just kind of just going to roll with it. Take the experience that I got from last year, make sure I’m listening to my team. I’m lucky because a lot of the fighters at American Top Team have been through it before you know there’s a lot that have entered the tournament so I know a lot of them and they’ve given me a lot of advice about how to navigate through the tournament so I’m just going to take every day as it comes and just enjoy it.”

“To be honest, I learn a lot but like I said the mental side. I think it was more dealing with your emotions, kind of your brain isn’t going to switch off, you’ve got to be prepared for the fact that it’s going to be a lot mentally probably more than it is physically but I feel like I think that’s what this game is anyway,” she added. “It’s more mental than it is physical… So I think the mental side of things and you know dealing with all the pressures and stuff like that is what I learned the most last year.”

Dakota expects tougher challenges and better performance

Ditcheva bulldozed her way to the European title by finishing all of her three opponents in the tournament. She submitted Malin Hermansson in the regular season and stopped Cornelia Holm in the playoffs before finally capturing the belt by submitting Valentina Scatizzi in the finals.

For “Dangerous,” the 2024 world season would present tougher challenges but she is certain it would bring out the best out of her.

“I expect to keep going hard and keep going you know,” Ditcheva said. “I’m more than capable of keeping my level up. I’m only getting better in the gym so I can only expect that you know I’m working harder so I’m gonna fight better. The level of competition is getting higher for sure but you know that that doesn’t mean like I’m not going to be able to keep my level up and show my skills. I feel like sometimes better competition brings a better performance for me.”

“[The focus is] Just being myself, just working on all aspects of my game, making sure that I’m improving my [jiu-jitsu], improving my wrestling obviously I need to have good wrestling because these girls want to take me down all the time. No one wants to strike with me so that’s obviously a big focus but at the same time, I strike and I still have to work on that. People think that I’ve got this amazing level of striking and I don’t have to work on that. I just need to work everything else but that’s still got to keep rising,” she added.

It could be Liz or Taila

As for who she expects to make it to the finals, Ditcheva said her pick is either Liz Carmouche or Taila Santos.

“I’d say Lizzy or Talia now if I had to pick one, it’s a tough one. [But] as long as I’m there I don’t really care, Any of them but yeah I think they are the top two girls,” she assessed.

Excited for Kayla

Ditcheva also expressed her admiration for Kayla Harrison and her PFL legacy. For “Dangerous,” Harrison serves as an inspiration in her own journey to world title and dominance.

“Everything’s worked out really well for her as well. She did unreal things in PFL. Winning it twice is crazy you know it gives me a lot of hope that I can come over and do the same thing, having started off in the European [season], I feel like I’m prepared to go and do that now,” Ditcheva said of Kayla.

“But I mean it’s amazing what she’s done in her career. She’s gone from the Olympics to then dominating PFL for how many years, now she’s gonna go to the top, the top of UFC, straight away fight Holly… so I I’m excited to see her get out there,” she added.

The money and the belt don’t matter

Ditcheva’s goal is to be the No. 1 female fighter in the sport. Regardless if there’s a belt or a prize, “Dangerous” said she would still compete at the highest level to be achieve that goal.

“If you took the belt away and took the money away, it’s still be there to get the number one spot and I think that’s the main thing. This is what kind of my mind is most focused on is being the number one girl in that tournament. Forget the money, forget the belt, even if it wasn’t for a world title and it was just to see who was the number one girl out of all of us, I would do it. That’s what I’m here to do… So to me none of them really matter, just being that number one girl,” she explained.

Ditcheva is entering the 2024 PFL season with an unbeaten record of 10-0. She is set to face Lisa Mauldin on April 4th.

Check out the full interview below:

Published on March 25, 2024 at 11:34 am
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