The best aspects of professional sports are rivalries. They pique fans’ interest, frequently inspire sportsmen to perform at previously unnoticed levels, and produce the highlights we will always remember.
Because of Arnold Palmer’s imposing presence, Jack Nicklaus was greater. Joe Frazier pushed Muhammad Ali to step up his game. The excellence of Justin Gatlin also inspired Usain Bolt to become the greatest sprinter in history.
Therefore, it is reasonable to ask who Kayla Harrison’s competition is. The two-time PFL champion will face Martina Jindrova on Saturday in London to begin her quest for a third PFL lightweight crown.
Jindrova is unlikely to be Harrison’s opponent because Harrison is the approximate 50-1 favorite to increase her record to 15-0.
The only competitor outside Amanda Nunes, the current UFC and Bellator featherweight champion, whom the oddsmakers would even remotely consider having a chance of defeating Harrison is Cris Cyborg.
Donn Davis, a co-founder of the PFL, tweeted that he would pay each fighter $1 million to appear, with the winner receiving an additional $2 million to stage a bout between Harrison and Cyborg. When Cyborg questioned Harrison’s capacity to sell a PPV, Harrison took to Twitter to declare that she would compete winner-take-all.
The fact that a battle will actually happen is far from a given, therefore Harrison rules a group where she has no real competition.
But two-time Olympic gold winner Harrison has come to terms with the circumstance and is prepared to wait until a real challenger emerges who may give her the major fight she desires and needs to establish her superiority.
The problem with MMA, according to Harrison, is the variety of promotions. “There are so many various organizations. You can compete under any of these banners. We have an international governing body for judo. There is also a global rating list. The end of that. There isn’t an attitude of “Oh, yeah, we’ll be the world international.” Regarding it, there are no ifs, ands, or buts. One international organization exists.
Naturally, I would want that. I’d adore that. I’d adore it. There simply isn’t a choice. You must combat me. But the truth is different. That is not true. This is entertaining as well. This is a business, too. In its most basic sense, this is not sport. This is a company. Therefore, it is just something I must manage. And I believe I’m handling it the best I can, in my own manner. My work is being done. I’m doing what I can. And I intend to compete against the best when they are at their best.
Despite Harrison’s 14-0 winning streak, she is aware that she can still do better. As terrifying as it may sound to some of her rivals, she is still a work in progress.
Her main difficulty will therefore be to compete with herself and determine whether she has improved her skills. Because if she keeps getting better, ultimately the fight that will define her career will come to light. It practically always does.
Harrison will then be able to demonstrate that she is a once-in-a-lifetime athlete who just so happens to be the best in her field, rather than simply thrashing a bunch of stupid, overmatched rivals.
Harrison declared, “I’m constantly evolving, changing, adapting, learning, and improving.” And you’re entirely correct. Being an MMA fighter at this moment is incredibly exciting. There are individuals who, as you mentioned, have only recently begun training in MMA. And the best part is that coaches are now available as well. You do not have separate coaches for wrestling and jiu-jitsu. You have an MMA trainer who has competed in MMA. So the sport is in a very exciting period right now. And I believe I’m prepared. I believe that I am currently an MMA fighter.
Once you reach 5-0, you’re a veteran of the sport, as my coach Mike [Brown] used to say in jest. I then ask, “Are you crazy? You are aware of how many judo matches I had to play before I felt experienced? But yes, eventually you have to acknowledge it, embrace it, and say, “You know what? I like to battle. I’m a warrior.
That is something that the world is gradually learning. Additionally, Jindrova will find out that on Saturday in London.
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