Exclusive: Aspen Ladd ‘Wasn’t Shocked’ With Fighting ‘Face Of PFL’ Kayla Harrison On Short Notice

Ladd knows what she's in for ahead of her fight with Harrison.

(via @aspenladd - Instagram)

Aspen Ladd is entering the biggest fight of her life.

Staying Ready

The circumstances could be better for the former UFC fighter as she takes on two-time PFL Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist  Kayla Harrison… all on a few weeks’ notice. The two will fight at the PFL Championships card on Nov. 24 in Washington, D.C.

Not having a full training camp for such a challenge doesn’t seem to bother Ladd one bit, who was apparently ‘getting ready to fight anyway’.  

“The same as any,” Ladd told Middle Easy of her preparation for Harrison. “You have to stay in the gym, you have to stay ready, and we are getting ready to fight anyway— not this particular fight. But really it’s just the fine detailing, as long as you’re in shape, you can make anything work on any week’s notice.”

‘Kayla Is One Of The Most Well-Known Specialists In The Sport’

When scouting Harrison’s game in the cage, Ladd knows there’s one thing she has to look out for, that being Harrison’s high-level grappling.

“Kayla is one of the most well-known specialists in the sport. She’s very, very, very good at a particular aspect of MMA as we all know. There’s not too many people that are that prevalent and that good at one part of it.”

Ladd On Harrison’s First Loss To Larissa Pacheco

Harrison, who has won two Olympic Gold Medals in judo, has wiped the floor with almost every woman she’s met in MMA. Of course, the only blemish on her impressive 15-1 record comes to rival Larissa Pacheco. 

After two losses to the champ, Pacheco would finally figure out the puzzle that is Harrison, defeating her over the distance to capture the PFL Lightweight Championship last year. 

Harrison has not fought since being given her first career defeat.

“It wasn’t like a devastating loss of any kind,” Ladd said of Harrison’s last outing. “It is rough that she has taken a year after that. So she’s been sitting and that’s coming back to it. But, that’s just my personal thoughts on it. I always pray to be active, win or loss after. You don’t wanna have a long layoff, but everybody’s a little different.”

Ring Rust

Will Harrison’s one-year layoff play a factor in her fight against Ladd? That’s a question that will be answered soon enough. Though, Ladd does say she is a believer in ‘ring rust’.

“It doesn’t matter what you do in the gym. If go into other gyms getting s sparring in any way, shape or form nothing feels exactly like that moment,” Ladd continued. “You can make yourself as uncomfortable as possible in training, go elsewhere. You go to other gyms, you can go spar with people and you still get your blood up, but there’s nothing that’s exactly the same as walking out there and fighting.”

Harrison Has Always Been In Ladd’s Sights

A year after making her PFL debut, Ladd is finally set to take on one of the promotion’s biggest draws in Harrison. It might have taken a few fights to get here, but Ladd knew the day would come where she faces off against the former champion.

“It’s the first one on your radar because she’s been the face of it for a long time,” Ladd said of Harrison. “Obviously she lost the belt last year, but she’s still, you think of PFL and this division, you think of her. When we signed that fight, the topic of it definitely came up and we’ve discussed it several times since then. So that was always on the radar.

“It was discussed [when I signed with the PFL], but it wasn’t going to happen at that time. But we definitely did speak about it and the way this one came together on short notice, it wasn’t unexpected. It’s just a little bit closer than we would’ve discussed or planned or like if you had like eight or 12 weeks or whatever.

“We have talked about it previously and when it came up, I wasn’t shocked.”

While she’s not shocked herself, Aspen Ladd will try to shock the world with a win over top dog Kayla Harrison.

Published on November 17, 2023 at 3:30 pm
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