Kayla Harrison is officially in the UFC. The former Olympic gold medalist is set to make the jump from the Professional Fighters League at 300 in April when she takes on former UFC bantamweight champion Holly Holm. UFC CEO Dana White made the announcement on Tuesday night that the fight will take place at 135 pounds.
Harrison, 33, won gold at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics in judo at 78 kilograms, or roughly 171 pounds. She made her professional debut in 2018 with PFL and has been a roster mainstay for the last five years. She won the PFL women's lightweight tournament twice in 2019 and 2021, earning a $1 million prize in each. She suffered her lone pro defeat in the 2022 finals of the tournament to Larissa Pacheco.
Many expected Harrison to take on Bellator women's featherweight champion Cris Cyborg now that the two promotions were under one roof, beginning with the Bellator vs. PFL champions card set for Feb. 24 in Saudi Arabia.
But instead, Harrison will make the move to UFC and compete a full 20 pounds lighter than she has in her entire career. Harrison last fought in November where she scored a unanimous decision over Aspen Ladd, a former UFC fighter.
Holm, 42, has floated around title contention for the last few years. Since scoring the stunning knockout upset of Ronda Rousey in November 2015, Holm has fought for a title four times, losing each opportunity. She's also coming off a submission loss to Mayra Bueno Silva last July, but the result was overturned to a no contest after Silva tested positive for a banned substance.
UFC 300 is set for April 13 in Las Vegas. The card boasts a stacked set of fights, including a BMF title bout between Justin Gaethje and Max Holloway as well as a women's strawweight title bout between champion Zhang Weili and Yan Xiaonan.