Aspen Ladd can’t wait to get going with the next chapter of her fighting career.
Ladd (9-3) has turned the page with the UFC and is in the cusp of beginning a new chapter, fighting under the PFL banner. The former UFC contender was released in late September after missing weight for UFC Fight Night 210, and she’s now set to debut for PFL against Julia Budd at 2022 PFL Championships on Nov. 25 in New York.
But the promotion is not the only change for Ladd. She’s also moving up a division, which is something she’s long been looking for.
“The last couple of years, it’s been my desire to move up,” Ladd said in a PFL media call on Tuesday. “And in the UFC they have that division (women’s featherweight), but they’re really not putting any effort or attention into it. It kind of exists because Amanda has the belt right now, and they want me to move up.
“So yeah, that was kind of like the last straw. I know I can’t. Like, I can barely sometimes make 135 and every single time is bad, so it was more of a health thing. For this last cut, that was the leanest I’ve come in. I started that cut at 142 pounds and after three I just dried up. So during that whole six hours of roasting and not sweating anymore, just feeling like I’m dying, I’m like, ‘I’m never doing this again. I’m done.’ Whatever the course may be, it’s 45 from here on out.”
Ladd said she was so persistent with bantamweight during her tenure in the UFC because of the lack of opponents and opportunities at women’s featherweight. And even towards the end, featherweight wasn’t even in the cards for her.
“Because that’s the only place where there was opportunity for me, and you fight where you have that,” Ladd said when asked about why she kept trying to cut to bantamweight. “And yeah, at the end they didn’t (let me fight at 145). And honestly, for anybody else that’s currently in that division, start looking at your options. If you can be one of the ones that drops, do it.”
PFL currently has only had regular seasons for women’s lightweight, but the promotion plans to change that for 2023. Women’s featherweight is expected to be a division with a regular season.
Ladd is excited to compete and 145 pounds and not deal with the drastic weight cuts for bantamweight.
“I’m extremely excited that they decided to do that,” Ladd said. “As I said, going into this it’s like, ‘Oh they have a 155 – which is you walk in at whatever you’re walking around that basically.’ But for them to actually have a 145 division, and the fact that they actually want to put effort in, and they want to flush it out, that is exciting.”