Despite how her MMA career ended Ronda Rousey was a special fighter who elevated the sports’ visibility beyond anything that we had seen before.
Before she became a breakthrough star in MMA, and—at one-time—a seemingly unstoppable UFC bantamweight champion, Rousey was one of the US’s top judo players. At the 2005 USA Championships she met a woman who, today, is one of the best fighters in her field: Kayla Harrison, the current PFL lightweight champion.
Check out what happened below:
As you can see it was the 18-year-old Rousey who got the better of the 15-year-old Harrison on this day.
This happened a year after Rousey competed at the Athens Olympics. She lost her first bout in that tournament, but would have a far better showing at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. There she secured bronze in the 70 kg category. A few years later she switched over to MMA and the rest is history.
Harrison would go on to have a more acclaimed judo career than Rousey. She won gold in the 78 kg categories at both the 2012 London and 2016 Rio games. In 2018 she debuted in MMA with PFL.
In 2019 Harrison carved through the competition to win the PFL’s inaugural lightweight title and a $1 million grand prize. She is currently set to face Taylor Guardado in the final of the 2021 PFL season, with hopes of retaining her title and scooping another million dollar check.
Harrison is expected to test free agency after the 2021 PFL season concludes.