Kayla Harrison recently joined John Morgan to preview the upcoming Professional Fighting League (PFL) playoffs. Harrison was nominated for the 2022 Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly award (ESPY for short) for Best MMA Fighter.
Harrison is in elite company—the three other nominees are Alexander Volkanovski, Charles Oliveira and Kamaru Usman. These three share some core similarities: all are male UFC fighters who will most likely be Hall of Famers.
When asked by Morgan what it meant to have her name alongside the likes of these legends, Harrison said:
"At first, I was in shock. I was like did they mess that up? What's going on here? But it's very humbling. Everyone keeps asking me about it, and I don't really know what to say... I'm honored—you know that is an honor... Somebody must think I'm worth a damn somewhere. Especially with the fighters I'm in the category with. You know, these are Hall of Famers... But yeah, to be the only non-UFC fighter, to be the only chick... Alright, somebody must have paid somebody. What's going on with this?"
Kayla Harrison maintained her perfect record by recording two more wins in 2022: one by decision and one by first-round knockout. There weren't particularly any women in the UFC who had great years of late.
Amanda Nunes had an upsetting loss, Valentina Shevchenko looked human in her last fight, and Rose Namajunas disappointed fans in her latest title defense. So, jokes aside, Harrison's nomination seems warranted, as she has continued to make her dominance look easy.
You can watch the full interview with John Morgan below:
"I bought my freedom" - Kayla Harrison
Kayla Harrison recently spoke about how most people don't understand the struggle it took for her to reach the heights she has achieved. Harrison described it as "buying her freedom," given that she didn't have money when she first started her combat sports journey.
In an interview with LowKick MMA, Harrison described the struggle:
"I feel like I bought my freedom. I worked my a** off for that freedom. People see this now, they see you shine under the bright lights, they see your good days, your world title days... They don't see those dark days. They don't see the days when I was 16 years old, and I was sneaking in my teammates cupboards to get food... They don't see that struggle."
Harrison spoke about how many fans are not interested in a fighter's journey and instead only judge them in the present. 'Doug' is now a renowned multi-time Olympic gold medalist and PFL champion, but oftentimes fans overlook her struggles.