Kayla Harrison signs with UFC and will debut at UFC 300 against Holly Holm

2023 PFL Championships at The Anthem in Washington D.C., Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. (Cooper Neill / PFL)

Out of no where, UFC President Dana White dropped a bomb shell this evening. White took to social media and announced that former two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and two-time PFL champion Kayla Harrison (16-1) had officially signed with the promotion.

White also announced that she would be making her debut at UFC 300 this April and she will be taking on former bantamweight champion Holly Holm (15-6). What makes this fight so intriguing is the fact that it’s going to take place at bantamweight. Harrison used to compete at 155 and she’s only fought at 145 once in her career.

Going back to Holly Holm, this is a legacy fight for her. The former champion is coming off a submission loss to Mayra Bueno Silva that was overturned to a No Contest. The former UFC champion has been in there with all the greats the sport has to offer. Amanda Nunes, Cris Cyborg, Valentina Shevchenko, Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, and new bantamweight champ Raquel Pennington have all fought Holly Holm.

Now, she’ll take on one of the most decorated athletes who has ever competed in MMA in Kayla Harrison.

UFC 300

This is such a massive signing for the UFC and a big blow to the PFL. Harrison was the face of the PFL for a long time. She was the superstar of the promotion and she helped take it to new heights. Following the 2021 season, Harrison found herself a free agent and had discussions with the UFC.

However, with a matching clause in her contract, she returned to the PFL. She made it to the 2022 finals but lost her first professional bout to Larissa Pacheco in her attempt to become a three-time champion. She sat out the 2023 season, but fought at the finals against Aspen Ladd in a showcase fight.

Harrison won a unanimous decision and it was expected that she would fight the likes of Cris Cyborg next now that the PFL acquired Bellator. However, the UFC has pulled her away and now she’s making her debut on the promotion’s most historic card against an all time great.