Frustrated for most of 2020 after the PFL cancelled the entire season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the two-time Olympic gold medalist had faced a multitude of emotions after her career was stunted just as momentum was really beginning to build. While she was able to fight one time during the year — and make her debut at 145 pounds — Harrison was still disappointed she was only able to compete in that single event.
Unfortunately for her opponent Mariana Morais, she had to face the brunt of Harrison letting it all out in the cage.
“There were moments in that fight where she would give up her back and I saw the choke and I saw submissions and I was like no, I want to keep hitting her,” Harrison described when speaking to MMA Fighting. “The ref is going to pull me off this girl. I want to keep going.
“Normally, I’m very calculated ‘oh the submission’s there, go for the submission’ but this time I was like no, I’m going to beat somebody up, dammit.”
Following a blistering finish just 1:23 into the first round, Harrison then spoke to PFL play-by-play man Sean O’Connell and he barely had to ask her much of anything before she launched into a diatribe where she dropped her humility at the door and proclaimed that she was the “the baddest woman in this room and in any room.”
It was truly a mic drop moment for Harrison, especially considering she actually removed the headset after her final word, tossed it to the ground and then walked away.
Kayla's hands are rated E for everybody— PFL (@PFLMMA) May 7, 2021
Mic Drop Moment pic.twitter.com/SprH1HkObs
Now days later, Harrison explained what led to such a fiery response in her first fight with the PFL since 2019.
“I mean it’s just probably the perfect storm of things happening in my life,” Harrison said. “This isn’t a dig at anyone. This isn’t a call out to anyone. This isn’t personal. This has nothing to do with Amanda [Nunes] or anyone else who people my think [I’m talking about]. This is just me making a claim to the world that I do believe in myself and I do believe I will go down as the greatest. I’m not talking trash. This is what I believe. This is just my opinion and I know that I have to work to prove that opinion. I know I have a lot to do but I’m excited to do the work and I’m excited that now the whole world knows that I have that confidence in myself.
“I’m not Miss Congeniality. I’m not here to make friends. This isn’t a business for making friends. These promoters aren’t my friends. These fighters aren’t my friends. I’m here for one job and one job only and that’s to be the greatest of all time and that’s it.”
In order for Harrison to prove she’s the greatest of all time, it’s going to require her to face some different competition than what she’s drawn in the PFL lately.
As it stands, Harrison occupies the top spot in the league rankings alongside Larissa Pacheco, who dispatched her first opponent on the same night in just 51 seconds. If Pacheco continues to win, she will likely face Harrison in the finals, which would be the third time they’ve met already.
Harrison won both of the previous encounters in lopsided fashion.
“I wish her the best and everything but for my selfish reasonings, I would like to fight different competition,” Harrison said. “I would like to fight someone else and continue to challenge myself and grow. It sucks that we’re going to fight three times. That’s the weird thing about having a season.”
If Harrison wants to fight different competition, it will require the PFL to go out and sign a whole lot of new talent or she’ll potentially have to pursue a contract with a different organization like the UFC or Bellator MMA.
Both of those promotions have established champions at 145 pounds with Amanda Nunes and Cris Cyborg and it’s hard to imagine a bigger challenge for Harrison than cutting down to featherweight and then facing either of those women.
Nunes’ name is constantly brought up to Harrison not only because she’s widely considered the greatest women’s fighter in history but also because they share the same head coach in Mike Brown while training together out of American Top Team in Florida.
A fight between them would be awkward at best or destructive at worst because of the close ties they share with the same team. That said, Harrison is clear when saying that her comments should never be misconstrued as targeting Nunes or anybody else as a future opponent.
If anything, Harrison saying she’s on a mission to become the greatest of all time is really just about her and the goals she seeks to attain in the sport rather than any specific fight awaiting her in the future.
“It has nothing to do with Amanda. It has nothing to do with Cris Cyborg. It has nothing to do with Claressa Shields,” Harrison said. “People aren’t saying ‘well tell that to Joanna [Jedrzejczyk].’ Joanna’s my teammate. It has nothing to do with Joanna. This is not a personal attack on anyone.
“This is my personal belief in myself. It’s almost annoying that people say things to me about it like ‘how dare you believe in yourself.’ What the hell else am I supposed to do? I’m not here to be second best, that’s it.”
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