Women’s lightweight champion Kayla Harrison is taking UFC president Dana White’s advice and is staying with the PFL.
The PFL announced earlier today that Harrison, (12-0-0), 31, signed a multi-year deal. This now clears her to compete in the upcoming 2022 season, which begins April 20. She will attempt to defend the PFL women’s lightweight title for the third consecutive year, winning in 2019 and 2021.
Harrison was seen at Bellator and UFC events in 2021 and was reported to have conversations with Scott Coker and Dana White who were interested in signing her. At the end of the day however, Harrison returns to the company where she is undisputedly its biggest star.
“It is a privilege to announce the PFL has signed the most dominant MMA fighter in the world, Kayla Harrison, to a new multi-year agreement,” PFL CEO Peter Murray said in a press release. “I am also excited to announce the PFL is launching a new Pay-Per-View Super Fight Division where star MMA fighters will compete on a global stage against the best fighters in the sport. Two-time PFL Champion, Kayla Harrison, will be fighting in the PFL’s 2022 Season starting this April on ESPN networks and will also continue to build her legacy as a main event in the PFL’s PPV Super Fight Division.”
The knock on Harrison’s dominance from critics is that it has been against lacklustre competition. The PFL has the only women’s lightweight division, with the UFC and Bellator only offering 145 pound divisions.
No. I’d be in Bellator fighting the taller chick in that pic. https://t.co/mpZsctR8s5
— Kayla Harrison (@KaylaH) March 8, 2022
But this year, former Bellator featherweight champion Julia Budd will move up and compete.
No one can question Harrison’s integrity. She acquired full parental custody of her niece Kyla and nephew Emery after her stepfather – who had custody – unexpectedly passed away. She participates in many charitable functions and also wrote an educational resource book Fighting Back: What an Olympic Champion Can Teach Us about Recognizing and Preventing Child Abuse – and Helping Kids Recover. The book identifies the signs of child sexual abuse, with in-depth information that includes how abusers target victims, how to protect children, and how they can recover.
At Invicta FC 43 in November 2020, Harrison made a successful featherweight debut. A second fight against Jozete Cotton at Titan FC 66 in December 2020 was cancelled due to Cotton’s failed weight cut.
Harrison is expected to compete on April 20 against an opponent to be announced.
Financial terms were not disclosed.