Two-time Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison is one of the most talked about prospects in the entire sport of mixed martial arts as she prepares to make her third appearance inside the cage at the Professional Fighters League (PFL) card on New Year’s Eve.
Considering she did what no other American had done in judo in the Olympics, including former UFC champion Ronda Rousey, it’s understandable why the spotlight has been so bright on Harrison this early in her career.
She may be very young in her mixed martial arts experience but Harrison’s manager Ali Abdelaziz says that she’s already got goals in mind like becoming the best women’s fighter of all time.
To accomplish that feat, Abdelaziz sees no other path than the one that ends with Harrison facing current UFC women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg, who is about to face Amanda Nunes at UFC 232 on Saturday night.
“I believe the fight that needs to happen — right now [Cris] Cyborg is the [greatest of all time] but I believe Cyborg and Kayla Harrison need to fight at the end of 2019 or 2020,” Abdelaziz told MMAWeekly. “I think Cyborg is the greatest combat athlete ever competing in the cage and a lot of people think I’m crazy. I’ve trained with [Kayla] and she’s legit.
“She has high level wrestling, high level jiu-jitsu, high level striking and I have so much respect for Cyborg what she’s accomplished but I think to declare the best female fighter, these two need to fight.”
Abdelaziz added that he’s not the only one who wants to see this fight come to fruition because Harrison has also told him directly that she’s already got her sights set on a showdown with Cyborg in the future.
“Kayla called me before she re-signed with PFL and she said ‘I can never finish my career without Cyborg and if I can’t fight her inside the cage, we can fight in the gym, a parking lot, I just want to compete against this lady’,” Abdelaziz revealed. “She wants to compete with her cause Kayla believes she can beat her.”
Now to make this fight happen in the near future a number of things would have to happen.
First off, Harrison would obviously need to stay undefeated in her next fight in PFL as well as an upcoming 155-pound women’s tournament that will kick off there next year.
Meanwhile, Cyborg remains under contract with the UFC, although she will only have one fight remaining on her current deal after she faces Nunes on Saturday night.
Abdelaziz feels like the pieces of the puzzle can come together so Harrison could finally face Cyborg in a battle between two highly accomplished athletes.
“I believe Cyborg is going to be done with the UFC next year and I believe her and Kayla should fight,” Abdelaziz stated. “This is what I believe. No disrespect to Cyborg. I think she’s an amazing human being, she’s a great ambassador for the sport but I believe her kryptonite is Kayla Harrison.”