Ronda Rousey was the most dominant female in mixed martial arts for a couple years and one of the sport’s most popular stars. She was an Olympic Bronze medalist.
At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Team USA’s Kayla Harrison won the Olympic gold medal in judo, defending her gold medal from the 2012 games in London. After the match, Harrison retired from professional judo and rumors have circulated she may follow in Rousey’s footsteps and transition into mixed martial arts.
Kayla Harrison already had a place in the record books, but she just carved out another spot next to her own name.
Harrison won a second straight gold medal in judo on Thursday after winning by ippon over French opponent Audrey Tcheumeo in the final match at 78kg.
Harrison already held the record as the only American to ever win gold in judo in the Olympics and now she adds to her incredible resume with a second gold medal in consecutive games.
Harrison put on flawless performance after flawless performance on her way to the finals and she did the same while dominating her way through the gold medal match.
The end came with just seconds to go in the match as Harrison slipped over Tcheumeo’s back and locked on an arm bar, which earned the tap and gave her the gold medal.
Prior to the Olympics, Harrison spoke to Team USA about a potential transition to MMA if she were to win Gold in Rio, which of course she did:
After Rio, Harrison must make a big decision about her future. She’ll decide if she wants to leave judo for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), just like her former roommate Ronda Rousey.
“I never say ‘never,’” Harrison said. “Judo is my first love. It’s my passion. But who doesn’t want to be famous? It takes a special kind of person, but I think that I could step in the cage and beat somebody up for a lot of money.”
Harrison said her agent has been in talks with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), but also with the International Judo Federation, which could have a role for her after her competitive career.
Harrison said she has to “sort of just figure out where I belong.
“The one question I ask myself is, ‘Do you really want to start from the bottom again? Are you ready to start all over? You’re going to be 26 years old. Are you going to completely reshape your whole life and reinvent yourself?’ Because that’s what I’d have to do.”