Aspen Ladd has a new fighting home.
The 27-year-old fighter from California, who was recently released from the UFC, has inked an exclusive deal to join the roster at the PFL where she’s expected to compete in the new women’s featherweight division starting in 2023.
PFL officials confirmed the news to MMA Fighting following an initial report from ESPN.
Once considered a top prospect in the bantamweight division, Ladd consistently struggled to make weight in the UFC with multiple fight cancellations stemming from her issues on the scale.
Despite a strong resume that included wins over Yana Kunitskaya and Sijara Eubanks, Ladd failed to make weight on three separate occasions that forced her fights to be cancelled. The latest incident saw Ladd weigh in at 138 pounds — two pounds over the bantamweight limit for a non-title fight — and her bout against Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann was scrapped.
It was following that fight cancellation that the UFC decided to release Ladd from her contract.
“We tried to work with her – she’s a great kid,” UFC president Dana White said about releasing Ladd. “It’s never fun when you have somebody who’s actually talented – she’s a talented fighter. But part of the job is making weight.”
Now Ladd will attempt to get a fresh start under the PFL umbrella with the organization committing to a women’s featherweight division for the first time in company history.
As of now, the PFL only promotes a women’s lightweight division led by two-time champion Kayla Harrison but now a season featuring featherweights will take place in 2023 with Ladd as part of the group making up the new weight class.