Kayla Harrison: MMA's new Ronda Rousey who is netting seven figure pay days

Kayla Harrison Ronda Rousey

When it comes to mixed martial arts, there are few women in the sport as influential as Ronda Rousey. 

The MMA and wrestling star has made history with both UFC and WWE and is one of the most talked about female fighters in the world.

But Kayla Harrison is now starting to climb a similar ladder and could be on her way to reaching the same status as Rousey.

Last night, Harrison continued her dominant run by defeating Taylor Guardado to win the PFL 2021 women’s lightweight tournament.

The 31-year-old was completely dominant inside the cage, landing a devastating streak of blows on Guardado, who tapped out after being locked in the armbar submission.

Harrison picked up her second consecutive PFL tournament win and in turn, a second $1 million cheque for her victory. Her MMA record remains pristine – she has not lost one of the 12 matches she has competed in.

However, her emphatic win marked the end of her contract with PFL, meaning she is now free to sign elsewhere. According to ESPN, Harrison is looking for a seven figure sum for each fight and the likes of UFC and Bellator could be keen to snap her up on their roster.

A potential UFC career

If Harrison is to chase a route close to Rousey’s decorated fighting career, she will need to land herself a lucrative deal and face off in a number of headlining title bouts.

Rousey was the first female fighter to be inducted in the UFC Hall of Fame after becoming the first woman to win the bantamweight title and set the record for the most number of title defences by a woman (six).

Her legacy continues despite leaving the company in 2016. But since she left, UFC has been without a blockbuster women’s title match, meaning they could be the favourites to sign free agent Harrison.

Ronda Rousey

If a deal is tabled, the Ohio-born fighter could be drawn against current bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes. The Lioness has headlined against Rousey in the past, for the Women’s Bantamweight Championship at UFC 207, where she beat Rowdy via TKO.

Rousey left UFC after this loss and the company has been searching for a gripping women’s headline pay-per-view fight card since.

Similarities to Ronda Rousey

Like Rowdy, Harrison is a former judo star and has represented her country on the Olympic stage.

Rousey won silver at the 2007 World Judo Championships and then bronze the following year at the Beijing Games.

Harrison on the other hand, boasts back-to-back Olympic golds and won the 2010 World Championship title.

Kayla Harrison

The similarities between the two are no coincidence, as both women trained with each other while they were judokas. But when it comes to MMA, Harrison has already matched Rousey’s win record and has a higher win percentage than the combat sports icon.

Rowdy has competed in 14 professional fights and won 12, while Harrison has 12 wins out of 12.

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Signing Harrison onto UFC with her impressive pedigree and pairing her against top dog Nunes for a title match would be the headliner MMA fans have been dreaming of for years.

It will certainly promise Harrison the regular seven figures she is searching for and will take her career to extreme new heights.

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