Two-time judo Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison has signed with WSOF where she will serve as a fighter, commentator, and brand ambassador.
Harrison, 26, initially didn’t seem interested in making the transition to MMA after winning her second gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games but her love of competition brought her back. She recently spoke to USA TODAY where she confirmed the news.
“I’ve been boxing and doing jiu-jitsu and all that, and the biggest thing for me, really, is that I miss competing,” she said. “I miss fighting on the highest stages of the world, and the World Series of Fighting really gave me a great opportunity.”
The obvious comparison between her and fellow judo Olympic medalist Ronda Rousey has been made but Harrison says she will hold herself up to her own standards. Rousey began competing in MMA three years after winning a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics and eventually became arguably the sport’s biggest star by 2015 with a 12-0 record.
“A lot of times people like to compare me to Ronda. I’m my own person, I make my own decisions, I’ll do it in my own time,” Harrison said. “I just want everyone to be excited and expect big things from me. This is only the beginning.”
Her MMA debut has not yet been set but her first event as a commentator will be WSOF’s New Year’ Eve event at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. The promotion expects that she will need at least one more year of training before competing.