Aspen Ladd is setting the record straight. The No. 3 ranked bantamweight contender is moving up in weight to meet Norma Dumont on short notice at UFC Vegas 40 this Saturday night, but it is by no means a reward for what happened to her just a few weeks ago.
Ladd was set to make her return to the Octagon at UFC Vegas 38 against Macy Chiasson, but the fight was canceled after the 26-year-old failed to make weight. She was disappointed that her fight was off and took responsibility for another failed weigh-in, but it would not be long before Ladd was given something else. When Holly Holm was forced out of her fight with Dumont because of an injury, the UFC called and asked if she wanted to step in. Ladd agreed, and she was booked.
The move was met with some criticism as it appeared as though Ladd got such a grand opportunity off of what is considered a serious no-no. Ladd told assembled media on Wednesday that she believes the outcry is a bit misguided in light of the situation she found herself in. The only reason she got the fight with Dumont is that she was ready, plain and simple.
“We were the ones that were ready to take it,” said Ladd. “I mean, you’ve got to use your brain a little bit there — a little bit of deductive reasoning. After the last one, you think they called me first? No, they called other people and it’s a dangerous opponent on short-notice. Nobody else took it. We did, so we get the opportunity.”
The shift from bantamweight to featherweight was expected to be made by Ladd, who revealed that she and her team had discussed it as a possibility for several years now. That discussion combined with the recent offer from the UFC only sped up her decision to go up a weight class, but Ladd made it clear that she would not completely close the door on her original division.
Ladd explained that she would like to compete again at 135 pounds, just as long as she could do it safely. For now, though, she will focus on her first venture at 145 pounds.
“We’ve been planning on going to ’45 as well as ’35, but ’45 the last couple of years, we’ve been talking about it, and the UFC was aware of that,” said Ladd. “Before this last fight, there was talk of doing a ’45 fight instead. It was just trying to get through that last one. Is ’45 the only weight class? No. It’s just going to take me a good long while to do ’35 and do it healthy. But we’ve been talking about doing ’45 for a while. This fight was completely unexpected. They called me on Wednesday.
“As soon as Holly fell out — and I don’t know who they called first,” continued Ladd. “I’m assuming they called other people, but Norma is a dangerous opponent. I didn’t know anything about her. I didn’t know it was five rounds and I didn’t know it was a main event. I just knew that Holly fell out and the fight was at ’45 and it was like, ‘Alright, sweet.’ This feels kind of like fate. Let’s do it.”
Despite not knowing much about Dumont, Ladd got familiar quickly and said she expects quite the welcome from the Brazilian contender.
“Heavy striker. She comes to bang. She throws hard, she throws down and I think this is a potential ‘Fight of the Night.’”