Kayla Harrison is hiding her personality no longer.
The two-time Olympic judo gold medalist is currently on the path to winning her second Professional Fighters League (PFL) championship, sporting a perfect 10-0 pro MMA record. During Harrison’s first run through the PFL’s lightweight division in 2019, she stayed relatively reserved on the mic, speaking in general terms about hard work while playing the part of fierce but always courteous competitor. But in 2021, Harrison seems to have turned over a new leaf, showing a much more outspoken personality in interviews, unafraid to name herself the “queen” of the division.
In a recent interview with FanSided MMA, Harrison spoke about her apparent turn in on-camera personality.
“If you can’t beat em’, join em’,” Harrison said about embracing trash talk. “I talk trash all the time… All I do is talk smack on the mats… It’s a big part of my personality. It’s all in good fun. It’s all lighthearted and good fun but I kinda realized that no one wants Miss Congeniality. Nobody wants America’s sweetheart. They kind of want you to be real and be yourself, and I decided that that’s what I’m gonna do from now on. I am who I am. I say what I say, and I believe everything I say.”
To be clear, Harrison’s trash talk is not an act and it’s not pre-planned. Whereas some fighters’ genuine personality might be to shy away from trash talk, Harrison says she is the exact opposite, and what we’re seeing is her true self.
“I don’t plan it. It just kinda brews and I think about. If there’s something that’s bothering me or something I need to get off my chest, I’ll make sure that I let the world know but i just realized I’m gonna be authentic and be myself and that’s gonna serve me the best in the long run.”
Harrison does believe trash talk can go too far, though. In light of Conor McGregor’s recent comments directed to Dustin Poirier, she believes certain topics should be off-limits.
“I would never talk about someone’s family. I would never wish ill on someone. I want us all to be safe and healthy when we leave the fight but I’m gonna go out there and try to win at all costs,” she said.
Kayla Harrison is currently slated to face Genah Fabian in the semifinals of the PFL playoffs on August 19.