Kayla Harrison is considered one of the greatest female judoka in the history of the United States, as she has captured the Gold Medal in judo during the 2012 Summer Olympics and the 2016 Summer Olympics. Harrison has seemingly moved away from the sport though, announcing her retirement from judo shortly after the 2016 Summer Olympics, but that has not stopped her from pondering a potential future in the world of mixed martial arts.
Harrison recently spoke to the folks at Fight Sports about the potential for competing in the world of MMA.
"I haven’t closed the door on it at all. In fact, there’s still discussions pretty much daily about whether or not I’m going to do it, or want to do it, or if I could be any good at it. But for me, I have to do a lot of soul-searching. I’m not ready to commit myself to something like that just yet” said Harrison.
If there is anything that may be limiting Harrison from entering MMA, it may be the damage done to her body over the years as she mastered her craft as a judoka.
“I’ve had a lot of injuries, I’ve put my body through the ringer this past 20 years," Harrison said. "So I don’t know, I haven’t really made a decision. There’s still offers and I’m still considering it. For now, I’m just gonna do some soul-searching.”
Harrison is also longtime friends with former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey, who she plans on speaking with before making a decision about entering the sport.
"Before I make any big decision, I’m gonna wanna pick her brain and ask her what she would do differently or what she wishes she had or hadn’t done and if I could do it, how I could do it any better. I definitely feel like I’ve learned a lot from her career just by sitting back and watching. I really hope if I do decide to do MMA, that I can take her mistakes and sort of learn from them, and hopefully do a little bit better” says Harrison.
Whether she enters the sport of MMA or not, Harrison is planning on teaching folks judo, which is something she is now able to do after being promoted to the rank of sixth degree black belt.
"I want to share my passion for the sport,” Harrison said. “I want to give back to it what it’s given to me all throughout the years. I’m sure it’s probably a little controversial to some people, promoting someone so young to a rank like this, but I’m looking forward to proving to all of them that I’m ready for it.”