Kayla Harrison chooses to fight; MMA debut coming

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Double Olympic judo champion Kayla Harrison will make her MMA debut next year, but the date is to be determined, she said Thursday.

Harrison responded to reports citing her manager that she will make her debut with the Professional Fighters League (PFL) in late February.

In October, Harrison announced she joined MMA promotion World Series of Fighting (now PFL) as a commentator, brand ambassador and potentially a fighter. But she wasn’t 100 percent committed to competing at the time.

“All signs point to a yes, but everything has to work out,” Harrison said then.

Harrison, 26 and all but retired from judo, has been asked time and again for years about her interest in pursuing MMA. That’s in part because of former training partner Ronda Rousey‘s overwhelming success after she switched from Olympic judo.

Harrison has taken boxing and jiu-jitsu lessons as far back as 2013, which should boost her MMA potential.

To compete in MMA, Harrison will require a weight cut from her Olympic judo class of 172 pounds.

Rousey competed at 135 pounds, the heaviest women’s weight class in UFC. PFL, which had no women’s weight class when Harrison signed up, planned to develop a women’s program as Harrison readied for a potential debut.

Harrison expected in October that if she fought, it would be at 145 pounds.

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