Larissa Pacheco: ‘I want to be involved’ with PFL super fight division, ‘at peace’ if she never fights Kayla Harrison again

Cooper Neill, PFL

Larissa Pacheco sits two wins away from making history as the first fighter to ever claim titles in two different weight classes in the PFL but she’s also looking for bigger and bigger ways to build onto her legacy starting in 2024.

The one-time PFL lightweight champion now competes in the new featherweight division, which launched in 2023, and she’s the heavy favorite to claim the 145-pound title along with the $1 million prize paid to the winner. Pacheco is currently in the middle of her third straight PFL season and while she’s not totally opposed to returning for a fourth, she’s also got her sights set on the new super fight division launching in 2024.

“I’m open for whatever but my vision really is leading into this super fight category,” Pacheco told MMA Fighting. “I want to be involved.

“If I have to go to the tournament again, I’ll think about that when the time comes but the idea of doing a super fight, it’s obviously bigger opponents, bigger payouts, that’s of huge interest. As far as legacy, it’s also huge for my career to be involved in that.”

The pay-per-view events centered around these super fights include ex-UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou making his PFL debut along with social influencer turned boxer Jake Paul preparing to compete in MMA for the first time.

Pacheco certainly isn’t complaining about the chance to win $1 million every time she competes in the PFL season but that schedule also takes a toll on the mind and body. In a perfect world, Pacheco would like the chance to participate in the PFL super fights as she seeks to add to her growing resume as one of the top fighters in the world.

“I’m focused on my legacy,” Pacheco said. “I want to create a legacy that is like I was a really good fighter in MMA. When I retire, I want to know that through and through. I want to know that value of my work. Focusing on becoming PFL’s first time double champion is where it’s going [right now].”

Pulling off an upset and beating two-time PFL champion Kayla Harrison to close out the 2022 season not only allowed Pacheco to avenge a pair of losses but it also appeared to set the stage for an eventual fourth fight between them.

That plan fell apart after Pacheco made the move down to featherweight to join the 2023 PFL season while Harrison has been sitting on the sidelines just anxiously awaiting her chance to fight again. It’s also been well documented that Harrison has two fights left on her current deal with the PFL, which expires at the end of the year.

In other words, it’s entirely possible that Harrison fights somebody else this year due to Pacheco’s involvement in the PFL season and then moves onto a new fighting home in 2024. That could effectively end the chances that a fourth fight between them would happen any time soon but Pacheco says she’s already come to terms with that possibility.

“I’m at peace with it,” Pacheco said. “I would love a fourth fight but if that happens and [Kayla] isn’t into it or it just doesn’t come to pass, that’s it. We turn the page and move on. There’s lots of other fights out there.

“I just want to make sure I’m fighting the best of the best and I’m happy with that. In terms of Kayla, I’m open to it. It’s up to the PFL and Kayla. It’s up for discussion.”

Another potential opponent that has drawn interest from Pacheco is reigning Bellator featherweight champion Cris Cyborg, who just recently ended her free agency while signing a new multi-fight deal with the Paramount owned promotion.

That nixed Cyborg possibly moving over to the PFL, although rumors continue to persist that the upstart promotion might end up partnering with Bellator or even buying the organization out right. If that happens, Cyborg could quickly become an option again for fighters like Pacheco — and she would love that opportunity.

“I’d love to fight [Cris Cyborg],” Pacheco said. “I never felt disappointed because at the end of the day and whatever goes on with the business, Cris is with Bellator, she’s with a different promotion and not with PFL. Outside of the rumors and the potential buying business or [PFL] partnering [with Bellator], I would love to. If we can take this out of rumor and make it reality, I’d love to [fight her]. It would be amazing for my career.

“Cris is an absolute legend. I see Cris as being part of the previous generation of MMA fighters that brought female MMA to this level and I see myself as part of the new generation. It would be an amazing matchup just for Brazil, it would be incredible.”

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