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Kayla Harrison: ‘The greatest compliment I can give to Cris Cyborg is that I want to fight her’

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HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Could Cris Cyborg and Kayla Harrison be on a collision course toward a future fight? Maybe, maybe not. But they were in the same building for the first time Friday night.

Harrison was cageside at the Seminole Hard Rock Resort & Casino where she watched Cyborg knock out Sinead Kavanagh in the first round of their Bellator 271 headliner to retain the Bellator women’s featherweight title. It was easy work for Cyborg.

It was also the first time that two-time PFL women’s featherweight champion Harrison, who trains out of nearby American Top Team, got an up-close look at Cyborg (25-2 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) in action.

“My first impression was she’s not as big as I thought she was gonna be,” Harrison told MMA Junkie with a laugh.

Then she got serious.

“But all joking aside, obviously Cyborg is a trailblazer in the sport,” Harrison said. “She’s a pioneer. She’s a trailblazer. The only problem with that is I’m on this trail now. But it was great to watch her live. I’m super impressed as always. She puts on a hell of a show, and I’ve got nothing but respect for her.”

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Fresh off winning a 2021 PFL title for $1 million just last month, undefeated Harrison (12-0) is currently the hottest free agent in MMA. She was at the Hard Rock on Friday night to open dialogue with Bellator president Scott Coker about possibly signing with the promotion. Harrison was without representation as her manager, Ali Abdelaziz of Dominance MMA, wasn’t in attendance.

Harrison didn’t say much about her meeting with Coker, other than “it went good.”

Depending on how well it went and if there’s more discussion to be had, it’s possible that Harrison could be challenging for Cyborg’s title in 2022. That’s something both women would welcome – especially Harrison.

“Listen, she’s one of the greatest of all time,” Harrison said of Cyborg. “I don’t care which way you slice it. You can’t deny her her greatness, and I’ve made it no secret that I wanna go down as the greatest. So, in order to do that, you’ve got to beat the greatest, and she’s one of those people. So, for me, the greatest compliment I can give to Cris Cyborg is that I want to fight her. That’s the greatest honor I can say, is that I wanna share the cage with you for 25 hard minutes. I would be over the moon to have an opportunity to fight her.”