Aspen Ladd has expressed admiration for Kayla Harrison in her recent statement. According to the former UFC fighter, the opponent is one of the “very, very accomplished” names in the field, making this bout a useful stepping stone for her career.

Ladd is replacing Julia Budd, who just got released by PFL and withdrew from the bout. Despite being picked on short notice for a fight that is happening on November 24, Ladd has taken the chance, underscoring the bout is a chance she used to chase in the past months.

“It was something that I’ve been very excited about,” Ladd told MMANews in an exclusive interview. “I was chasing it months ago when it was down between Julia [Budd] and myself. I was like ‘You should book us now, guys’, because you never know what could happen.”

Prior to her loss to Larissa Pacheco at the 2022 PFL Championship in November of that year, Harrison had a clean record of 15 straight wins in her earlier bouts. Ladd, on the other hand, has an inconsistent record even when still with UFC. Prior to entering PFL, she lost to Raquel Pennington and Norma Dumont. In PFL, Ladd was defeated by Olena Kolesnyk last April but made an interesting win by defeating Budd. Ultimately, she is coming from her victory against Karolina Sobek in June. With this patchy record, Ladd hopes to boost her career by defeating Harrison.

“Right when you sign with the PFL, that’s the fight on your radar and something you should be preparing for, regardless,” said Ladd. “There’s a few names that are very, very accomplished in the sport, and she’s one of them. She’s got a name, a great record, and she’s known to be excellent in what she does. So when you go out and fight somebody like that, it elevates you both.”

Ladd seems to be not the only thing excited about the fight. Aside from fans, PFL CEO Peter Murray is painting the bout as worthy despite Ladd only being a replacement.

“While originally fans and we had wanted to see Kayla and Julia, but that didn’t get done,” Murray said during the release of Budd in her league contract. “So Aspen, she’s been training. She’s been looking forward to getting back in the cage, and the timing was right given the circumstances. I think it’s a great matchup. Aspen beat Julia. It should be a better fight. It’s on.”

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