Kayla Harrison: Judo Olympian Joins the UFC!

From judo Olympic glory to the fast and furious world of MMA, her arrival has sent shockwaves through the UFC.

Kayla Harrison, a two-time Olympic gold medallist in judo, has officially joined the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and fight fans are buzzing in anticipation.

Harrison, born on July 2nd, 1990, in Middletown, Ohio, has a judo pedigree that speaks volumes.

Her journey into combat sports began at a young age, and she quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the most decorated judokas in the world.

Standing at 5’ 8” and competing in the lightweight division, Harrison’s judo skills have been nothing short of spectacular. Her MMA record isn’t too shoddy either, with 16 wins and one loss, which came by a decision against Larissa Pacheco.

Overcoming plenty of obstacles along the way, Kayla Harrison has won the hearts of fans worldwide, competing at the highest level of judo and fighting her way through the PFL to become a two-time PFL champion.

Her Olympic Triumphs

Kayla Harrison’s judo journey reached its pinnacle at the 2012 London Olympics, where she secured a gold medal in the 78kg category—the first American to win gold in judo at the Olympics.

This achievement alone would have solidified her place in judo history, but Harrison wasn’t finished. In the 2016 Rio Olympics, she once again claimed the top spot on the podium, earning her a second consecutive gold medal.

Transition to MMA

With her judo legacy firmly established, Kayla Harrison boldly decided to transition into mixed martial arts. Her move to the Professional Fighters League (PFL) was met with curiosity and excitement. Fans and pundits alike wondered how her judo expertise would translate in the world of MMA.

Harrison’s MMA debut took place on June 21, 2018, at PFL 2, where she faced Brittney Elkin.

True to her judo roots, Harrison secured a first-round armbar victory, showcasing her seamless transition to the cage. This victory marked the beginning of a new chapter in her combat sports journey.

Dominance in the Cage

Kayla Harrison’s run in the PFL was nothing short of dominant. She continued her winning streak, defeating opponents with a combination of striking and grappling skills.

Her ability to control the pace of the fight and dictate where it takes place became a hallmark of her fighting style.

As Harrison continued to rack up victories, the MMA community took notice. Her performances were impressive, and she even became PFL champion. The question on everyone’s mind was when she would make the jump to the UFC.

UFC Signing

The moment January 2024 arrived it was officially announced that Kayla Harrison had signed with the UFC. The news sent shockwaves through the MMA world, and fight fans eagerly awaited her debut on the sport’s biggest stage.

Scheduled to make her first appearance in the UFC on April 13, 2024, Harrison’s opponent is yet to be announced. However, the anticipation is palpable as fans envision the judo sensation facing off against the best in the world in UFC’s competitive lightweight division.


As Kayla Harrison steps into the UFC octagon, her journey from judo Olympian to MMA sensation becomes a captivating narrative in the ever-evolving landscape of combat sports.

Will she continue her dominant run and capture UFC gold? The answers lie in the upcoming matchups that await this female judo powerhouse.

So there we have it folks, a front-row seat on the extraordinary journey of Kayla Harrison, the judo Olympian powerhouse making her mark on the UFC!

Do you think Kayla will dominate in the UFC? To what heights could she scale, and who would be her dream match ups? Let us know in the comments below; Like, share and join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram!

GET YOUR BIG DOSE OF GROUND AND POUND in the KINGDOM of FU, especially with our Top 5 MMA series, including exclusive interviews with top fighters such as Anderson Silva, Cung Le, Rob Van Dam, action actors such as Dolph Lundgren and Michael Jai White, and ONE Championship interviews with the likes of Brandon Vera, and Tang Kai!

WHIP YOUR GROUND GAME UP in KFK gear, and subscribe for more earth-shaking FU on YouTube!

Andrew Laoudas

Andrew is a passionate martial arts enthusiast with knowledge on a wide range of disciplines including Nunchaku, Kali, Muay Thai, Wing Chun, and Judo. Driven by a deep love for the arts and a genuine appreciation for action movies, Andrew's focus on Wing Chun and Judo has given him significant experience and expertise. With a unique perspective that blends the excitement of action cinema with the technicality and beauty of martial arts, Andrew seamlessly integrates his passion for martial arts combat, cinema, and MMA. This fusion fuels his evolving journey of self-discovery and he hopes it will serve as inspiration for others to unlock their true potential.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Kung-fu Kingdom