No one needs to tell Genah Fabian about the difficult task that stands before her in the PFL playoffs on Thursday night.
The 4-1 City Kickboxing lightweight is the latest opponent attempting to add a blemish to Kayla Harrison’s perfect record as the two-time Olympic gold medalist seeks a second consecutive PFL title win after previously claiming the $1 million prize back in 2019.
Harrison is favored to win, especially after she demolished her first two opponents this season in less than seven minutes of total time inside the cage. With world class judo that provides Harrison one of the nastiest ground games in the sport, she’s never hidden her strategy to put opponents on the canvas and dismantle them from there.
Fabian is well aware of all that and she wouldn’t expect Harrison to suddenly deviate from a game plan that has led to so much success in her career thus far.
“Look, Kayla hasn’t been broke in her fights so why would she fix it?” Fabian told MMA Fighting. “The confidence that she has, she’s been able to blow through all these girls to date. Her game plan and her style of fighting hasn’t needed to change.
“That’s kudos to her strength but I know that I’ve got the style and I’ve definitely got the physicality and all those factors, the athleticism, the smarts, to shut that down for her. Granted I do my job and do everything right on fight night.”
After their first faceoff earlier this week, Fabian received a lot of attention for her size advantage as she towered over Harrison, which certainly plays to her strengths as a striker.
Training under her cousin Eugene Bareman and alongside the likes of UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya on a daily basis, Fabian is more than confident that she’s got the skills to put anybody away with her four limbs and that includes Harrison.
“I’m not here to mince words — I’m there to take her head off and vice versa,” Fabian said. “It’s my time and I’m the one, I’m going to be able to do that. All her accolades it’s admirable. It’s not personal. I don’t know this girl. I don’t feel anyway about her. It’s respect for sure as a competitor but I’m there to take her out.”
An unbeatable as Harrison has looked through the first 10 fights of her career, Fabian isn’t treating her as anything different than just her next opponent.
Eliminating the hype and the aura surrounding Harrison is a huge factor that Fabian believes will allow her to compete with a clear head and a defined goal in mind.
“This is most definitely the biggest name of my career,” Fabian explained. “She’s very well established to this point and she’s had the machine behind her. She’s done everything that’s been asked of her. It’s not taking away from work and her achievements to date in MMA.
“But at the same time who is she to me? She’s another opponent. I really do treat every fight I have like it’s the biggest fight and this is no different. She’s a name. She’s a dominant, current champion but that doesn’t take away from the fact that I don’t really care. I’m training to beat her. I’m training so hard to beat her.”
Thanks to the global pandemic that cancelled the PFL season in 2020, Fabian didn’t compete for nearly two years until she returned to action back in May.
As difficult as it was for her to stay away from the cage for so long, the 31-year-old New Zealand native took full advantage of the time off to learn how to be a better fighter, which she expects to pay off in the showdown with Harrison.
“From 2019 in my first PFL season to now, it’s a much more refined Genah Fabian and I know at this point where I’m at and what the world has seen thus far isn’t even 30-percent of what I can produce and have produced out there,” Fabian said. “This fight is going to bring out another layer and another side of my game but I will handle that as it’s presented.”
Of course beating Harrison wouldn’t be the end of the road for Fabian because she would still need one more win in October to claim the PFL championship and the cash prize.
There’s little doubt that she’s betting on herself to make that happen considering Fabian had to book a one-way ticket to the United States for her upcoming fight in the PFL and thanks to travel restrictions in New Zealand, she’s not even sure when she’ll be able to return home again.
“I could be staying in the states until next year at this point,” Fabian revealed. “It’s part of the sacrifice. It’s part of the deal at the moment but it’s worth it.
“At this point, I don’t have a ticket back home. Because they have a system where it’s first come, first serve and they flash release each month. You can’t just book it. They don’t release it all at once. They’ll release the month of October or the month of November and at this point all of the tickets have been taken until November this year. So I’m just hoping that a flash date comes up or I can get one for December. At this point it’s unknown how long I’ll be based in the states but it will be at least until November-December.”