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Ex-UFC fighter Aspen Ladd moves to featherweight, meets Julia Budd in PFL debut

Ladd debuts on the 2022 PFL Championships in November. 

Aspen Ladd at weigh-ins for UFC 273.
Aspen Ladd at weigh-ins for UFC 273.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

The Professional Fighters League (PFL) wasted no time getting Aspen Ladd her first assignment.

The recent PFL signee will compete in the soon-to-be-announced women’s featherweight division and share the SmartCage with Julia Budd at the 2022 PFL Championships set for Nov. 25 at Hulu Theater in New York City. Drake Riggs of MMA Mania was first to report the fight, and Ladd confirmed it during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani.

“I’m thrilled,” said Ladd. “It’s pretty much a fighter’s dream at Madison Square Garden and I’m excited that I don’t have to wait until next April basically to start this next season. So I’ve been waiting to find out if I was going to be on it and I got the confirmation last week, and I was like, ‘Yes!’”

Ladd signed with PFL after she departed from the UFC earlier this month. The former UFC bantamweight went 4-3 over seven appearances, but several weight misses marred her time in the promotion. Ladd weighed in at 138 pounds for her fight against Sara McMann at UFC Vegas 60 this past September, canceling that appearance and prompting Dana White and Co. to part ways with her. She left on a two-fight skid, coming up short against Norma Dumont and Raquel Pennington at UFC Vegas 40 and UFC 273, respectively.

Budd joined the PFL over a year ago and is 1-1 in two outings. The ‘Jewel’ earned a unanimous decision over Kaitlin Young in her lightweight debut at PFL 10 in 2021 but fell to Genah Fabian at PFL 3 in 2022. Her next regular season outing was supposed to be against Kayla Harrison, but Budd was forced to withdraw due to injury.

The 2022 PFL Championships features six title fights. Headlining the pay-per-view event is a third fight between Kayla Harrison and Larissa Pacheco.