Last week, we published an article talking about the UFC’s next steps regarding Aspen Ladd (9-3). My thoughts were simple in that they needed to either release her altogether or force her to move up to the featherweight division.
Yesterday, we learned what their decision was. The UFC decided to cut Aspen Ladd from the promotion. It’s been such a steep fall from grace for Ladd. Back in 2019, Ladd found herself 8-0 after she defeated Sijara Eubanks.
Many were looking at her like she was a future champion in the bantamweight division. I even remember reading articles talking about how she could eventually challenge Amanda Nunes for the top spot at 135. She just needed a little more time and a little more polishing.
The UFC booked her against former featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie in a Fight Night headliner. This was going to be the true test to see if she was ready to challenge for a title. Well, she got knocked out in 16 seconds.
To give Ladd credit, she re-established herself quickly. She came back at a Fight Night in December and stopped Yana Kunitskaya in the third round. Once again, the hype train was moving. However, a series of injuries and weight issues really started to delay her progress.
Next steps after UFC release
Ladd always had a tough time in the UFC making 135 pounds. For that headliner against de Randamie, it was frightening to see her on the scale. Then, her fight with Macy Chiasson got cancelled due to her inability to make weight. The Sara McMann fight was the last straw.
After stating earlier in the fight week that she wouldn’t have issues making weight, Ladd came in a few pounds overweight. The UFC decided to release her and Dana White commented at last night’s Contender Series press conference.
“It’s never fun when you have somebody who’s actually talented – she’s a talented fighter. But part of the job is making weight… She’s not made weight so many times, it had to happen. Not something you want to do, but something that had to be done,” White said.
So now what happens? Well, I think there’s a place that will jump at the opportunity to sign Ladd. That place is the PFL. Ladd should be fighting up in weight and the PFL would give her the opportunity to fight at either 145 or 155 pounds. PFL is known for jumping at UFC talent, and regardless of what has happened, Aspen Ladd has talent.
Expect Bellator to make a call as well to add her to their featherweight division. Don’t expect Aspen Ladd to be a free agent for very long.