PFL lightweight Cindy Dandois needs a finish to get into the Season 3 tournament playoffs, but that’s the furthest thing from her mind right now.
Kayla Harrison is standing in her way.
“Kayla is the biggest name in the tournament, so for me, it would always come to a point where I would fight Kayla and try to beat her,” Dandois said during a media day in support of her headliner against Harrison at PFL 6, which takes place Friday at Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J. “I don’t take that pressure on my back, because I already have the pressure of fighting the best in the division.”
Dandois, who’s fought most of her career as a bantamweight and featherweight, is as high as a +1260 underdog to upset Harrison, who’s buzzsawed through the competition since joining the tournament-based organization and won the Season 2 tournament.
Quite simply, no Harrison opponent has been able to match her, particularly when the action hits the mat. She flattened Mariana Morais in under two minutes in her Season 3 opener and declared herself the queen of the division. Dandois, meanwhile, lost a decision to Kaitlyn Young in her first 2021 appearance.
While Dandois is a black belt in judo and owns nine MMA wins by way of submission, she would never presume to be better than her opponent in that realm of the fight. Being good enough to use her skills to their fullest extent is her measure of success.
“Kayla has better judo than I do – I know that,” Dandois said. “But on the other hand, I’m not scared to fly. I’m not scared to be taken down. I have been grappling many, many years.
“I have slick tricks, too, on the ground, and I think I showed that during my career. I think most of my wins were by submission. I think Kayla’s armbar is really good, and her ground-and-pound is massive. But I have flexible hips, and I have good movement. So it’s going to be interesting.”
Dandois didn’t tweak much to get herself ready for the biggest fight of her MMA career – her training partner switched to a southpaw stance to mimic Harrison. Other than that, she’s aiming to be the best version of herself.
“I don’t want to be another fighter,” Dandois said. “I think the best gameplan is pushing my strengths and not Kayla’s weaknesses, because I don’t think she has many.”