Can the PFL turn Kayla Harrison vs Cris Cyborg into reality?
Cyborg, the reigning Bellator Women’s Featherweight Champion, is currently one of the biggest free agents in MMA after her contract expired this summer following a successful title defense against Arlene Blancow at Bellator 279. Hour of MMAPFL CEO Peter Murray said the promotion has reached out to Cyborg and is still hoping to facilitate a deal that could lead to a matchup between her and PFL star Harrison, whether under the PFL or as a joint promotion with Bellator.
“Look, I think this is a fight that the fans would love to see,” Murray said on Hour of MMA. “This is a fight that the PFL would like to avoid. Kayla said she wants this fight. I think it all comes down to Cris Cyborg – does Cris Cyborg want this fight? And whether Chris decides to move to the PFL to organize this fight and possibly other fights is one of the scenarios. And another scenario is a joint promotion. And we support both.
“As far as we understand, she is a free agent. We would like this fight to take place, ”Murray continued. “… Information and explanatory work was carried out. We look forward to taking this seriously. … There’s no dancing [around it]. It’s not a surprise or news that this is a fight with the PFL or Kayla. And so I think we’re looking forward to seeing what’s possible in the coming weeks.”
Cyborg is currently ranked 3rd among female fighters in the world by MMA Fighting. She has been one of MMA’s most dominant forces for the past 17 years, and her loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 232 was her only loss since her professional debut in 2005. The 32-year-old boxer has won UFC, Bellator, Strikeforce and Invicta FC featherweight titles. Her April victory over Blancow was the fourth defense of her Bellator belt.
Harrison is the 9th female MMA Fighting fighter in the world in the weight class. She has also been an overwhelming force since her MMA debut in 2018. The two-time Olympian has won all 14 of her professional fights and is the favorite to win her third straight PFL title in the current lightweight promotion.
These two women have been circling each other in recent years as the biggest fight available to any featherweight outside of the UFC. Harrison even signed with Bellator as a free agent in 2022, however that contract was eventually signed by the PFL.
Murray on Wednesday reiterated his desire to find a way to end Harrison’s fight against Cyborg. He added that the PFL expects to be in talks with many other free agents as well, saying the promotion is looking forward to talking to Shane Burgos, who recently terminated his UFC contract by defeating Charles Jourdain at UFC Long Island. — and hopes to also be part of the conversation about Nate Diaz after the UFC 279 main event on September 10 against Khamzat Chimaev.
“Absolutely,” Murray said when asked if the PFL could afford a price as attractive as Diaz’s. “…We have the capital, we have the necessary funds, and we are not a regional player.
“Now we are a global brand and we are trusted. Before, when we first started, it was difficult. It’s okay, you have to earn trust, you have to prove yourself, you have to perform. And we have proved that we have a working model, and we are designed for the long term. And now it is an alternative not only to novice fighters, but also to established fighters who are in the top ten, top five, top three and first place. So we are here to stay, we are here to play and compete, and not only are we going to develop our own talents through our system, we will certainly continue to sign big fighters.”