UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Kayla Harrison dominated Larissa Pacheco in their Professional Fighters League matchup on Thursday night at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, but she said she cried afterward because she wanted to produce a spectacular performance, not the unanimous decision she received.
Harrison (4-0), a two-time Olympic gold medalist in judo who recently made the transition to mixed martial arts, went the distance for the first time in her MMA career, winning by scores of 30-25, 30-27 and 30-27. She had earned stoppage victories in her first three fights, including two in the first round.
Harrison said she was disappointed because her goal is to be perfect. She said her desire to grow in the sport is so great that she's not afraid to give her life in the cage.
"If you want to beat me, good luck," she said. "You'd better be willing to die in there."
Harrison, 28, became the first American to win a gold medal in judo at the 2012 Olympics in London before repeating the feat at the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro. She transitioned to mixed martial arts last year, going 3-0 in the PFL's first season.
The winner of each division in the PFL, including the women's lightweight division that features Harrison, will win $1 million.
But Harrison said it's not about the money. She wants to be a legend, and Thursday's fight exposed some of her flaws and "stupid mistakes," not unexpected for someone in her fourth professional fight.
Harrison escapes trouble in second round
Larissa Pacheco takes Kayla Harrison's back, but Harrison is able to escape the position and land some ground-and-pound at PFL 1.
Although Harrison scored two takedowns and outlanded Pacheco (11-3) 58-13, including 52 strikes while she had Pacheco on the ground, Pacheco had Harrison in a vulnerable position a handful of times, taking her back at one point and threatening a triangle late in the third round.
Harrison said that's below her standard.
"I think people underestimate my desire to be the best and to be perfect," she said. "I'm not just one of those people who says it. I want to go out, and I want to dominate, and I want to [impose] my will, and I want people to beg to never have to fight me again. When I feel like I fall short of that, I'm not happy."
She added: "I want to win more than I want to breathe."