Kayla Harrison's plans for the next year and beyond are very much up in the air.
The two-time former PFL women's lightweight champion told ESPN she is not sure what her next move will be, but her top priority is a rematch with Larissa Pacheco, who handed Harrison her first career loss in the PFL women's lightweight championship fight last month.
Harrison said another Pacheco fight is what she wants -- she still has a 2-1 record over the Brazilian slugger -- but that's hardly a slam dunk.
"I also understand like I don't call the shots anymore," Harrison said. "I lost -- I'm not the champ. Now, I'm kind of at the mercy of some other people. It's gonna suck."
Harrison, 32, fell to Pacheco via unanimous decision on Nov. 25 in New York. She was a heavy favorite in that fight, as she has been in most of her pro MMA bouts. Harrison is a former two-time Olympic judo gold medalist. She had won two previous PFL season championships and was expected to win a third. Pacheco, to her credit, had improved since the two last met in 2019.
Had Harrison (15-1) won, the expectation was that PFL would put together a superfight for her on pay-per-view against another star fighter, potentially legend Cris Cyborg. But the Pacheco result has Harrison wanting a fourth fight with her and potentially going back into the season-and-playoff structure that most thought she would be done with.
"I dropped the ball," Harrison said. "Now, I'm kind of in this position, do I go back on my word to my kids and say, 'Hey, I'm doing another season because I can't handle it?' Or do I stick to the game plan and fight two more fights and go from there?"
Harrison has two fights left on her PFL contract, which runs into the latter part of 2023. PFL owner Donn Davis has already proposed via Twitter a deal for a fight to Harrison and Cyborg (who is a free agent but expected to re-sign with Bellator). Davis wrote that each fighter would get $1 million and the winner would get a $2 million bonus -- plus a Rolls Royce.
Harrison wants the Cyborg fight and nearly signed with Bellator earlier this year to fight her. Cyborg tweeted to Davis that she wants an 80% split of the revenue and Harrison could get 20%. Harrison said she would consider that, but also has to consider the business aspect of it and her two young children.
"I don't care," Harrison said. "[Cyborg] has me blocked [on Twitter]. ... I don't do this for money. [My manager] Ali [Abdelaziz] would murder me. I have to take care of my family. I already told [Cyborg] I'd fight her at [American Top Team] in the parking lot."
However, less than two weeks after the loss to Pacheco, it is still eating at Harrison, who returned to train at American Top Team on Monday.
"I'm just not gonna be able to enjoy my life if I don't go train like a monster," she said. "I will not be able to sleep at night until I don't go train until my hands are bloody. I can't let that go. I can't live like that."
But she also wanted to clear up any misconceptions about her grief following the defeat.
"When you give your all into something and you come up short, it's a hard feeling and it hurts," Harrison said. "But again, just to reiterate what I've been saying, I'm not ashamed. I'm not hanging my head."