UFC 300’s Kayla Harrison embracing sacrifices of making 135 pounds ‘come hell or high water’ in debut


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There are plenty of questions surrounding Kayla Harrison’s promotional debut at UFC 300, but perhaps the most important will be answered before she steps into the octagon.

Harrison (16-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will face former bantamweight champion Holly Holm (15-6 MMA, 8-6 UFC) in her debut on April 13, which will be the first time in her career to compete at 135 pounds.

“Do I look OK? I look in shape?” Harrison responded when asked about making bantamweight at a Q&A session before the UFC 299 ceremonial weigh-ins. “I’m coming for a UFC title, so f*cking come hell or high water, 135, here I come.”

As a gold medal-winning Olympic judoka in 2012 and 2016, Harrison competed at 172 pounds. After making the switch to MMA in 2018, she ruled the PFL’s lightweight division, winning two tournament championships. Since the UFC did away with its featherweight division, the only option for Harrison to compete was at 135 pounds.

“Well really, bantamweight became a reality, and is going to become a reality on April 12,” Harrison said. “It’s not something I had considered before, but I knew that, again, whatever contract I signed was going to be the last contract. This opportunity arose. I don’t want to look back on my life and say, ‘What if? What if? What if?’”

Harrison explained that she is fully “trusting the process” of working with multiple nutritionists and coaches to help ensure she will be prepared to step on the scale to hit the bantamweight limit. Part of that process means eliminating all of the comfort foods and sweets, at least until she does her job on the scale.

“Yes, it’s a sacrifice. Yes, it sucks,” Harrison said. “I miss pizza, I miss cookies, I miss brownies, but I do believe that UFC gold will be worth it.”

While the journey to the scale in April will be a daunting one, overall, Harrison is enjoying the days leading up to her UFC debut, as it reminds her of her days competing for gold medals.

“Honestly, it feels like the Olympics all over again,” Harrison said. “There’s a special electricity in the air. Like, I remember walking into the opening ceremony and feeling the heat of the Olympic torch on my face, and being like, ‘Oh no, this is real.’ And that’s how it feels for UFC 300. It’s special, and this is a big show, and I can’t wait.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 300.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie



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