Harrison, a two-time tournament champion in the PFL’s 155-pound division, has to make the drop all the way down to 135 pounds for her recently announced bout against Holly Holm, which takes place at UFC 300 on April 13 in Las Vegas. It’s a massive opportunity for Harrison, but also uncharted territory as she has only competed below the lightweight limit once in her career and never at bantamweight.
“When I saw it was at 135, I was shocked, because Kayla Harrison begged for 155-pound division at PFL and she got it and I think she’s been great there,” Tate told SiriusXM. “She’s been tremendous. I know she’s made 145 before, I think it was tough for her. I think 135 is going to really suck the life out of her, and it’s not the best move.
“I guess I’m speaking from personal experience, because when I went down to 125—although I did it and I still had a pretty decent camp—I just didn’t perform at my best, and I think Kayla is just used to being such a big, strong woman, that she won’t have that on her side, and I’m really curious to see how that’s going to benefit her with someone like Holly, who really does move so well. She really has some of the best footwork in the women’s divisions, and I think that’s going to be tough for Kayla.”
Tate made an unsuccessful drop to the flyweight division in July 2022 at UFC Long Island, where she lost a decision to Lauren Murphy. “Cupcake” has since bounced back, moving back up to 135 pounds and defeating Julia Avila via submission this past December.
Harrison made the move to MMA after a decorated judo career that saw her twice win Olympic gold, and she is currently a heavy favorite to defeat Holm in April. However, Tate sees Holm as a difficult style matchup for Harrison – and an upset in the making.
“I’m pumped for Kayla,” Tate said. “I’m excited for her to come over here. I think it’s going to be really good, but if you’re asking me who I think is going to win that fight, looking at it right now, I would say Holly.”