Kayla Harrison will have to wait before getting her fight against Cris Cyborg. According to PFL founder Donn Davis, the company will first arrange the bout against Cyborg and Larissa Pacheco but promised that the Cyborg-Harrison would follow.
Pacheco’s recent victory at the 2023 PFL Championship not only gave her the status of the first-ever two-weight champion of PFL: it also brought her the next possible huge fight against Bellator Women’s Featherweight Champion Cris Cyborg. The fight makes sense as PFL’s Davis wanted to stress. According to the executive, the company would prioritize first the champ vs. champ fight between Cyborg and Pacheco.
“It’s champ versus champ,” Davis said at the PFL post-fight press conference. “Larissa’s earned that but then will Cris fight Kayla in 2024? One hundred percent, that is going to happen. Cris will have two fights in 2024. Kayla will have two fights in 2024. One of those will be Cris against Kayla, but we think that Larissa’s earned that.”
Despite that, Davis didn’t scratch his earlier statement about the possible Harrison-Cyborg fight. Earlier this week, the exec said the bout “may be on a pay-per-view next year.”
“Once again, you have to give them champ versus champ. Cris is the champ of Bellator, Larissa’s the champ here, so you’ve got see that fight happen first, and then coming out of that, you’ll see Cris Cyborg against Kayla Harrison as the next fight in 2024,” said Davis.
This will be a huge change for the plans of Harrison, who anonymously called out “a girl in Bellator who thinks she’s a bad b*tch” after defeating Aspen Ladd at the 2023 PFL Championship. Though unnamed, it can be deduced that the fighter was referring to Cyborg, who immediately took offense to the statement.
While PFL’s plan seems logical, it is still not certain that Cyborg will follow the path prepared by the promotion. Although the Bellator female champ recently extended her contract, she is now preparing to face Kelsey Wickstrum in a boxing match after her Bellator 300 success. Yet, Davis hopes Cyborg “would love the opportunity” and will soon return to MMA.