Kayla Harrison UFC debut: UFC 300 is step to being ‘greatest combat athlete of all time’, says MMA champ

UFC MMA ring

Kayla Harrison says she will win two UFC titles and become “the greatest combat athlete of all time” after making her debut for the promotion against Holly Holm at UFC 300 on April 13.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist judoka Harrison will face former UFC champion Holm in a bantamweight prepliminary bout in Las Vegas, where she hopes to prove a point to former bantamweight and flyweight titlist Henry Cejudo.

“This is an argument that I’ve had with Henry like a bazillion times about how he’s the greatest combat athlete of all time,” 33-year-old Harrison told the UFC.

“I said, ‘Henry, honey, I’m coming for you. You have one Olympic (medal) – just one. What are you going to do with one? (I’ll) come over here real quick to the UFC, win a belt, maybe win another belt real quick, defend it and be two-time UFC champion.

“Then I am a world champion, and a Pan Am champion and a Pan Am Games champion. Anyways, I will be undisputed – the greatest combat athlete of all time.”

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Two years after her second consecutive Olympic gold medal, Harrison debuted for the Professional Fighters League (PFL) in 2018 and became lightweight champion in her seventh fight, winning a $1 million prize.

Harrison repeated the feat in 2021 and was only denied the following season by a decision defeat to Larissa Pacheco in the final which is the only loss of her MMA career.

UFC 300: Harrison v Holm

Former boxing champion Holm has held the UFC bantamweight title and challenged for the featherweight belt, recording eight wins in 14 bouts under the banner.

The 42-year-old beat Yana Santos on the scorecards in March but suffered a submission defeat to Mayra Bueno Silva in July which was later voided when her opponent tested positive for a banned substance.

“I know she’s an amazing fighter and I’m really excited to share the cage with her,” Harrison said of Holm. “The window for fighters is usually really small and she’s stretched it out.

“This is it: this is what I’ve been waiting for, this is my moment. I’ve been patient, I’ve been steadily climbing. I’m ready to make the most of it.

“It’s going to be real different from what I’m used to – the vibe, the excitement. I enjoy that. I love the pressure. I shine brightest under the bright, bright lights and I can’t wait.”

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