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Aspen Ladd returning to bantamweight, targeting Miesha Tate as next opponent

Ladd made her featherweight debut against Norma Dumont at UFC Vegas 40 in October. 

Aspen Ladd weighing in for her fight at UFC Vegas 40.
Aspen Ladd weighing in for her fight at UFC Vegas 40.
Photo by Louis Grasse/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A return to bantamweight is imminent for Aspen Ladd, and she wants a former champion for her upcoming UFC appearance.

Ladd spent about two years away from competition for a number of reasons. The No. 4 ranked bantamweight contender suffered a torn ACL and MCL in her right knee that required surgery and forced her on the sidelines for over a year. Ladd had her return fight planned for the co-main event of UFC Vegas 32 this past July; however, that was scrapped after Macy Chiasson re-injured an existing stress fracture in her foot days before the event. The pairing remained intact and rescheduled for UFC Vegas 38 in October, but it was canceled again because Ladd missed weight.

Ladd would eventually fight at UFC Vegas 40 and made her featherweight debut against Norma Dumont. Though she was content to share the Octagon with someone after all this time, Ladd told John Morgan of MMA Junkie that she felt a bit off on that night.

“I overthought everything and underperformed,” said Ladd. “That’s the best way that I can describe it. I’m glad that I got back in there and fought, but I did not do anything that I needed to do. It was really just me not pulling the trigger, and I don’t know if it was the two years off or what, but at this point, I just want to get back in and really get back to myself as far as a fighter goes.”

Hoping to avoid another period of inactivity, Ladd would like to get an assignment for either February or March of next year and has set her sights on Miesha Tate. Ladd and Tate were embroiled in some recent drama that stemmed from the former’s concerning weight miss as well as her boyfriend and coach’s approach to cornering during the Dumont fight.

Tate has gone on record to repudiate romantic relationships between coaches and fighters after being involved in her own when she was with and coached by former UFC bantamweight Bryan Caraway for several years. Ladd can acknowledge Tate’s experience but said she does not share the same one.

“I think she’s definitely stirred the pot quite a bit,” said Ladd. “We all have life experiences, right? But without knowing what’s happened to another person, you can’t just apply, like, your triggers and what’s wrong with you to them. She has a tendency to see the world through what’s happened to her in the past.”

“I don’t want to talk sh-t, but I definitely want that fight,” continued Ladd. “You said some things; let’s go handle this like adults here.”

Neither woman has a fight scheduled at this time. Ladd suffered a setback to Dumont and lost via unanimous decision, while Tate dropped a decision to Ketlen Vieira at UFC Vegas 43 in November.