Kayla Harrison was frustrated, her head down and tears filling her eyes. At this time, one would never believe that she simply had her hand raised.
However, this was the scene in May, when the Olympic gold-medalist Judo, the distance for the first time in the career of mixed martial arts. And the 29-year-old didn’t like it at all.
“I was just disappointed that I didn’t finish it,” Harrison told Sporting News for the 2019 PFL that opens at the time of the unanimous decision on Larissa Pacheco. “I want to go out to instill my will in dominant fashion, I want to get my TKO, KO or submission and that was the first time I ever made a decision.
“I’m just holding myself to a higher level,” he stumbled. “I felt that I could have done better, I should have done better and I didn’t. That’s why I was upset.”
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Harrison channeled that frustration, flying through Morgan Frier in July and Bobbi Jo Dalziel in October – both through a first round submission – to take his place in the PFL Championship. There, he will face Brazil’s Pacheco again – this time with the women’s lightweight title and $ 1 million on the line. Everything will be done at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Eve.
This time, Harrison wants the finish that escaped her at their initial meeting and the taking of the Queen’s prizes that come with him.
“Since then, I’ve grown tremendously as a fighter,” Harrison said. “I’ve grown even more terribly as a human being. I’m excited to show the world Kayla Harrison I’ve become.”
Harrison helped with this journey by training with Amanda Nunes, the UFC bantamweight and featherweight champion widely regarded as the MMA fighter of the greatest women of all time.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vO1YmVBNT7Y [/ embed]
In a recent “Road to the PFL Championship” video, Nunes describes in detail why there is no reason not to walk Harrison in 2020 with the women’s lightweight title and $ 1 million.
“We trained together and came to the American Top Team and it evolved a lot,” Nunes says in the PFL clip. “He comes from judo. From here, he’ll be able to put it together with the fight, jiu-jitsu, impressive, make good strategy and become an MMA fighter. He’s definitely going to be the next PFL champion.”
Having said that, Pacheco feels – like Harrison – that he failed to train well enough for their first fight just the day before. Harrison has heard Pacheco sneak up on him in the PFL Championship and that only fueled the American Olympic hero’s desire to win many more.
“I want to win in a dominant way,” Harrison said. “I want to start the New Year in such a way that I speak. I will break it and it will break.”
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Using New Year’s Eve as a launch pad for MMA greatness in 2020 and beyond, it sounds like the perfect scenario for Harrison.
“It would be a magical moment. It’s the end of a decade. It would be the final rebirth of myself that I feel,” Harrison said, explaining what it would mean for an MMA career. “I have been an Olympic athlete for so long and now I am a fighter and will eventually have my first world title. It’s a first step on a very long journey to bigger and better things. “
Like Nunes ‘American top team, Harrison has expressed interest in a super period with Claressa Shields’ boxing sensation. This could be one of the “bigger and better things” for Harrison to keep an eye down the line.
“Claressa and I go back,” Harrison told colleagues twice at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics. “We both agree that if it is a money fight, we will of course fight each other.”
Any such scenario has to wait so far. Right now, this is Harrison’s first major milestone in MMA, which is coming to the fore.
“I’ve been waiting a long time and I’m ready to go in and do what I do,” he said. “I want to go down as one of the greatest to ever do it.”
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