Kayla Harrison was hoping to enter her second fight in the 2022 PFL season under different circumstances.
The two-time PFL women’s lightweight champion and two-time Olympic judo gold medalist was hoping to fight Julia Budd at Friday’s 2022 PFL 6 event in Atlanta. However, Budd, who’s a former Strikeforce and Bellator champion, had to withdraw from the fight, leaving Harrison (13-0) with late replacement Kaitlin Young.
The American Top Team product explained her frustration with now facing Young (12-12-1) rather than Budd, who would have been her most accomplished opponent to date.
“Yes, obviously (I was upset),” Harrison told MMA Junkie at Wednesday’s media day. “The competitor in me wanted to face the former Strikeforce, Bellator champ, someone with her accolades. I wanted to test myself. I think everyone was more excited about that fight than any of my previous opponents, I guess, in a while.
“So yes, I was looking forward to it. I hope she’s OK, and I wish her a speedy recovery and that she heals up quickly.”
On top of not getting to fight Budd, Harrison also faced fan backlash due to the perceived change in the level of opponents, something that puzzled her as she has no control over the situation.
“It just gets frustrating,” Harrison said. “It’s the same thing over and over again. They don’t read anything and just want to talk trash, so it gets a little frustrating. I’m here, I’m going to fight, and I’m going to fight whoever they put in front of me. I can only control the controllable. I can only control me and my reaction to things. … I’m excited to fight Kaitlin Young, July 1. It’s going to be a good fight, and that’s all there is to it.”
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