Two-time Olympic judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison is reportedly on her way to going into MMA. She has signed a deal with the World Series of Fighting. Harrison, a teammate of Ronda Rousey, looks to be following her path in going into MMA. Up until recently, Rousey had a great deal of success in MMA. That changed with her one loss to Holly Holm in November last year.
“I’ve been boxing and doing jiu-jitsu and all that, and the biggest thing for me, really, is that I miss competing,” said Harrison to Yahoo Sports. “I miss fighting on the highest staged of the world, and the World Series of Fighting really gave me a great opportunity.”
Harrison will be fighting on December 31 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Harrison will need to hit the ground running and push her career quickly if she wants to be able to make the most of her remaining youth.
“A lot of times people compare me to Ronda,” said Harrison. “I’m my own person. I make my own decisions. I’ll do it in my own time.”
There’s a lot involved with making a transition to MMA. If Harrison is to be successful at MMA, she’s going to need to really submerge herself in the sport and live and breathe it 24/7, because she’s got a lot to learn, and not a ton of time to learn it. At 26, Harrison is younger than the 29-year-old Rousey, but she didn’t start her career at the same age. Rousey has been doing it for a while. It took her a number of years to get to where she is now. If Harrison is going to take her time, then it’s going to be difficult for her to get up to speed.
Harrison won gold medals in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. She also won gold medals in the 2011 and 2015 Pan American Games.
One thing that could make it hard for Harrison is to find a weight class to compete in. She weighs 165 pounds. UFC doesn’t have a 145lb weight class, which means Harrison would need to take off quite a bit of weight to compete. She would be perfect for a fight against the 170lb Cyborg if she can learn the sport in time before the Brazilian ages out.
It’s going to be interesting to see if Harrison can succeed at MMA like he did with Judo. It’s such a different sport. She’ll need to learn how to punch and kick, as well as all the submission holds.