Kayla Harrison hopes to leave a 'good legacy' behind her by the time her mixed martial arts career is over. The current Professional Fighters League women's lightweight champion believes that there are more important things than winning.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison holds an unbeaten 8-0 record in MMA. In addition to her success inside the cage, the Olympian judoka and MMA champion wants to use her influence to make the world a better place.
In an exclusive talk with Sportskeeda, Kayla Harrison spoke about her ultimate goal in the sport. She considers individual triumphs to be only a part of her road to success rather than her defining objective. Kayla Harrison said in this regard:
"The modern world is all about likes, and being famous or whatever. But for me, it was never about being famous. It was never about being a star, you know. Of course, I'm a human being; I want those things. I think it's what you do with that power, what you do with that platform. And winning gold medals is great. Being a world champion is great. Being undefeated in MMA is great. Being a badass is great. But what I do with that, and how I choose to change the world, is really what my legacy is," reflected Kayla Harrison. "Yes, being undefeated and being the best is a personal goal. It's a personal thing. It's internal, but leaving behind a legacy and how I think I can change the world is more important than my internal, weird drive to be the best at what I do."
Kayla Harrison has her goals spread further than fighting. She used traumatic experiences growing up as the foundation for her book, Fighting Back, about spotting the signs of child abuse.
Children are an important motivation for Kayla Harrison, who takes pride in her role-model responsibilities. Being the legal guardian of her niece and nephew, she hopes that through this behaviour, she will be able to 'set the best example possible for them'.
"You know, my legacy is how people are going to remember me forever and ever. I want it to be a good legacy. I want people to look at me and say she was truly herself, in every sense of the word. And she left this world better off than she found it," said Kayla Harrison.
Kayla Harrison believes Conor McGregor can leave his trash-talking persona behind
During the interaction, Kayla Harrison also shared her thoughts on the 'new' Conor McGregor. The UFC superstar has recently been friendly towards his opponents, prompting surprise from MMA fans and analysts who are more used to his trash-talking.
However, Kayla Harrison believes Conor McGregor should continue the same way. She thinks fighters don't need to resort to trash-talking to achieve success, as martial arts is based on respect.
"Conor McGregor is literally the sport's biggest star. Do I think that he needed to do it the way he did it (by trash-talking)? No, I think that he's good enough. And he's mentally strong enough that he doesn't need to talk trash to be successful. I think that if you look at the early Conor McGregor, it was confidence. It wasn't cockiness, and there wasn't as much trash talk, I think," considered Harrison.
Kayla Harrison further fleshed out the argument by citing examples of acting respectfully not resulting in a disastrous outcome:
"Look at the cycle of Conor McGregor's career. I mean, Conor McGregor was very friendly with 'Cowboy' (Donald Cerrone), and he won. So it's not like he has to talk trash to win a fight. I think it is a big weapon for him. I think it helps him feel larger than life and what he needs to feel to step in the cage and be that 'Gladiator' that he needs to be. But do I think it's necessary? No. Do I think if it has to be a part of the sport? No," examined Harrison.