The last two years haven’t been great for Aspen Ladd, as far as her progress in the UFC is concerned. After beating Yana Kunitskaya by TKO in December 2019 Ladd spent much of 2020 recovering from tears to both her ACL and MCL.
Prior to the injury she lost out on a bout with this weekend’s title challenger Julianna Pena, who withdrew from a fight with an injury of her own. Ladd’s knee injury took her out of a fight with former title challenger Sara McMann.
A year after suffering her injury Ladd was booked to return against TUF winner Macy Chiasson at July’s UFC on ESPN: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw. However, that fight was scrapped due to an injury to Chiasson. The fight was rescheduled for October.
At the weigh-ins for the fight Ladd trembled on the scales, something we’ve seen from her before, and came in 1 lb over the bantamweight limit. Despite looking like she might feint, she was made to weigh in a second time and was able to hit 136 lbs. The fight was cancelled anyway, with the promotion citing health concerns for Ladd.
Weeks later Ladd stepped in on short notice to fight Norma Dumont, at featherweight, in the headlining bout of UFC Fight Night 195. Ladd lost that fight, which has been much maligned for its lack of action, by unanimous decision.
After her weigh-in debacle in October, Ladd was targeted by former UFC bantamweight champion Miesha Tate—who recently returned to action after a five-year hiatus. Tate accused Ladd of trying to cheat on the scales, by hovering her arms and attempting to redistribute her weight.
Those claims were met by harsh comments from Ladd’s head coach (and partner) Jim West. Tate and West had a spirited back and forth over the matter. Tate later called out West for for his harsh sounding corner advice during the Dumont fight.
Now, it seems, Ladd is eager to bring all this animosity into the Octagon.
She told MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck that she has agreed to fight Tate. Furthermore she challenged Tate to back-up her words and accept the bout offer.
“I’ve agreed to fight her in the past and I’ve agreed to fight her now,” she said. “I want that fight. It depends on whether she’s choosing to take it, or if she’s gonna choose not to fight, or choose an easier out. We’ll see.”
“Hey, look at her, she essentially set up the fight already,” Ladd continued. “If you’re gonna do that, if you’re gonna talk trash, if you’re gonna say things that you have, and now she’s talking about fighting other people calling her out. Of course they are. Everybody wants to fight you.
“But when you say very particular things about somebody and then you don’t feel like backing them up, I don’t know what that makes you, but it’s definitely not a fighter.”
Ladd added that a fight with Tate would “very much” be a personal affair. “I wanted to fight her in the past simply because she’s a legend coming back. Now I want to fight her because she said some things she really shouldn’t have.”
After ending her MMA retirement Tate beat Marion Reneau by TKO in July. In November she took a unanimous decision loss to Ketlen Vieira. She has a 19-8 pro record. Ladd’s recent loss to Dumont dropped her record to 9-2.