Larissa Pacheco became the first woman to beat Kayla Harrison in MMA this past November, clinching the PFL lightweight championship and a life-changing million-dollar prize. With Harrison no longer in the regular season in 2023 and Pacheco dropping to 145 pounds, it’s unlikely the two will meet again this year.
Pacheco, who lost a pair of decisions to Harrison in 2019 before getting her revenge three years later, said a fourth bout with Harrison “would be great” in terms of hype — and also for a chance to settle the score — but she added “I won’t be waiting for her.”
“If they offer me a great purse, or at least something equivalent to what they offer her, I would obviously [do it],” Pacheco said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “But am I going to wait for her to decide when she wants to fight? PFL offered me a spot in the season, so I took it.”
“I think this fight won’t happen [in 2023], because I’m stuck in the season,” she continued. “It really depends on the situation, because I would have to abandon the season — and I don’t mean to be cocky, but this season is very advantageous for me – it’s pretty much saying I’ll win another belt. And to drop that for a fight with her and risk my winning streak, they would have to pay me really well, equivalent to what she gets paid, to really make it happen.”
It’s still unclear when Harrison will re-enter the cage and who will be her opponent, but the two-time Olympic gold medalist is expected to be part of the new PFL pay-per-view model.
“If I were on the same stage of hers in terms of money and was sure of my contract, relax,” Pacheco said. “Like, ‘I need time for my mind, I need time to assess everything that’s going on and decide which way I wanna go.’ I would possibly do the same thing.
“Kayla has won so many millions of dollars with the PFL and sponsors and everything, so I think she’s happy about that. She wants big names and big fights. Maybe she needs more time to see what’s going on in her life, and all she needs right now are superfights. I’m still very young, I still have a lot to grow. I can’t simply not work just because she doesn’t want [to fight] right now, or because they won’t want to book it right now. I’ll continue working and doing my part.”
For now, all Pacheco wants to do is win the 2023 featherweight season and become a two-division champion in PFL, adding another million-dollar check to her bank account by the end of the year.
“I’m a monster at 155 pounds, so why am I going after a new challenge?” Pacheco said. “I know what I’m capable of in this division, so let’s do it.”