Cris Cyborg vs Kayla Harrison fight ‘was a done deal’ in 2023 PFL MMA before falling through

Kayla Harrison is not competing in the 2023 season of PFL MMA, and it seems that was done so the promotion could place a dream fight between her and Bellator featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino on a pay-per-view card this year. Unfortunately, that won’t be happening now.

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Cris Cyborg brought her journey in MMA free agency to a close last week when she agreed to a new multi-fight contract to stay in Bellator and remain their 145-pound women’s champion. The move was not a surprising development since the cage-fighting legend’s options were fairly limited with only a few worthwhile women’s featherweight divisions around the sport.

Kayla Harrison record: 15-1 (6 KO, 6 submissions)

kayla harrison, cris cyborg
Credit: Bellator MMA/Lucas Noonan

However, it seems that the PFL was a serious contender for the Brazilian’s services in recent months, and a deal was nearly finalized for her to face their top female fighter at a PPV card at some point this year.

On Monday, two-time PFL champion Kayla Harrison informed ESPN that as far as she knew, an agreement to bring “Cyborg” to the PFL was a “done deal” recently.

“I was told it was a done deal with PFL, that she was going to sign and plan [to fight her] on ‘this date’. So, I had a lot of hope. It is what it is. I can’t control it. I think [the chances of the fight happening] are slim. I think it’s pretty slim. I’m not going to lie to the fans.”

– Kayla Harrison

With Kayla Harrison and Cris Cyborg being the top female fighters outside of the UFC, and at nearly a similar weight, rumors of the two facing off have been rumored for several years. When the two-time Olympic gold medalist was a free agent earlier this year, she reportedly signed with Bellator to make the fight happen but PFL MMA used their contractual option to match the deal.

kayla harrison, cris cyborg
Credit: Cooper Neill/PFL

It will be interesting what the promotion does with Harrison before her current contract expires after the 2023 PFL Championship in December.

After earning his journalism degree in 2017, Jason Burgos served as a contributor to several sites, including MMA Sucka... More about Jason Burgos

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