(Editor’s note: Story updated to reflect revised statement from Ladd, which doesn’t mention new featherweight division.)
Aspen Ladd has a new home.
“I want to thank the Professional Fighters League for giving me the opportunity to continue my career in the PFL SmartCage,” Ladd said in a statement. “I am excited about the PFL’s sport season format where you win and advance based on talent and merit. I look forward to testing myself against the best women in the world.”
Ladd was released by the UFC after a history of failing to make the non-title bantamweight limit of 136 pounds, which led to numerous fight cancellations. The 27-year-old was booked against Sara McMann at UFC Fight Night 210, but the bout was scrapped after Ladd came in at 138, two pounds over the bantamweight limit. Ladd’s weight cut was stopped by commission officials, and she was subsequently released by the promotion.
Ladd made her featherweight debut against Norma Dumont in the UFC Fight Night 195 main event last October, but lost the fight by unanimous decision. During her almost five-year UFC tenure, Ladd scored finishes of Lina Lansberg, Tonya Evinger and Yana Kunitskaya. She had three fights called off due to weight-related issues during that stretch.
It’s unclear in which division Ladd will compete. Originally, ESPN reported that 2023 would be the first PFL season with a women’s featherweight division, which Ladd would partake in. PFL’s subsequent press release made no mention of a women’s 145-pound division, and Ladd’s prepared statement was changed.
Through three seasons, the only PFL women’s division has been at lightweight, which has been won by Kayla Harrison twice. She’ll go for a third title against Larissa Pacheco on Nov. 25 at the 2022 PFL Championships event in New York.