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Kayla Harrison confirms 2022 PFL finals are last appearance in season tournament format

PFL 9 Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Kayla Harrison attempts to become a three-time PFL champion when she faces Larissa Pacheco at the upcoming PFL Finals card on Nov. 25. But that fight will also serve as her final appearance in the season-long format.

Harrison confirmed with MMA Fighting on Thursday that after she finishes the current PFL season she will turn her full attention toward individual fights. That will allow her to continue chasing a longterm goal of being considered the best fighter in women’s MMA.

Add to that, the PFL is expected to introduce a featherweight division in 2023, and Harrison acknowledges there’s no way she could cut to 145 pounds that many times in the tournament format.

“Yeah, this will be my last season,” Harrison said. “I’m 32. When I tell you that it is a mental and physical grind to get to this title, it certainly is.

“I can’t even imagine trying to make 145 pounds four times in six months. I think that is, for me, impossible. I’m hypoglycemic. It would be a health risk, and I wouldn’t be performing at my best if I did that to my body. I know it’s time for me to be patient and get the big fights.”

Harrison currently competes at 155 pounds, but she has previously cut down to compete at featherweight, and she’s not opposed to doing it again.

Harrison said her fight with Pacheco could also be her final appearance in the lightweight division.

“There’s a chance [this is my last fight at 155 pounds],” she said.

As it stands, Harrison said she rarely has time to do much of anything else but train and prepare for fights during the PFL season, and that’s a difficult endeavor to undertake, especially considering she’s done it for three consecutive years.

“I think when you don’t know, it’s hard to grasp it,” Harrison explained. “For me, that is the hardest part. I don’t have a life. You think that I’ve done anything fun this year? You think that had enough energy to brush my hair this year? I wake up, I take my kids to school, I eat breakfast, I train, I come home, I shower as fast as I can, I pick up my kids, I take them to their activities, I have help, she shows up and helps make dinner or I make dinner, and then I go train again. I come home, I help with bath time and bed time, I go to sleep and then I do it all over again. Every eight weeks, every 10 weeks, I have a fight.

“I don’t travel. I don’t see my other family. I don’t go to fun events. If something hurts, you better figure it out fast, because you’ve got a fight in three weeks. Oh, if you have a medical issue, you have a health concern, you have things that need surgery, you’ve got to put it off. You have stuff that you’re supposed to be working on like your foundation, well, you’ve got to put it off, because you don’t have enough energy. It is a mental and physical grind. It’s not so much about the opponents, but every single time I step in that cage, I’m putting my legacy on the line. I have a desire to achieve great things. It’s f****** hard.”

After ending a period of free agency by re-signing, Harrison said she was told the promotion would do everything possible to help her pursue high-profile fights that would allow her to cement her spot as the best female fighter in the world.

There’s long been talks about a potential crossover fight pitting Harrison against Bellator champion Cris Cyborg and the PFL recently added UFC veteran Aspen Ladd to the roster as well.

Assuming she wins on Nov. 25, Harrison wants to then put her full attention on those types of fights rather than continuing to move forward with another PFL season.

“I have everything I want,” Harrison said. “I want for nothing. Everything I have is enough. I’m grateful and blessed beyond measure. Financially abundant. Three titles, let’s not get greedy, I’m happy with that. I’m ready to be patient and wait for the fights that are really going to catapult my legacy.”

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