Kayla Harrison tossed the best women in the world on their head multiple times to earn two gold medals in judo before announcing that she would most likely retire.
Of course, with the success of Ronda Rousey, Gabi Garcia and recently Mackenzie Dern, fans and members of the MMA media wondered if Harrison may make the move the to mixed martial arts.
After she was openly asked the question, it was an emphatic no.
However, Harrison is going to take up jiu-jitsu with her competitive judo days seemingly behind her.
“I’m still going to continue to have some form of athletic pursuit in my life, I can’t just walk away from it. I’m going to continue to workout, start to help with the next generation of judo athletes and I’m actually going to start Jiu-Jitsu," Harrison said to bjjstyle.com. "I think jiu-jitsu looks like it will be a fun sport to learn and won’t be as hard on my body as judo is. I don’t mean it in a disrespectful way at all, but I think the mind-set for jiu jitsu is possibly just a little more relaxed and not so intense and crazy as judo can be.”
It sounds as if a super athlete like Harrison wouldn't be able to quit her first love cold turkey, so she may be looking for a more casual, open relationship of sorts.
“Judo is my thing, it’s my sport and it’s what I’m known for, but I think jiu-jitsu will give me a chance to still workout, but not at such a crazy, intense level as I have had with my judo,” Harrison said. “At the end of the day, it’s always good to learn something new and have some fun with it.”
Maybe Harrison could get the itch again, fall in love with jiu-jitsu and compete at a high level there. How insane would it be to the history-making medalist in Judo to maybe win a championship in jiu-jitsu, as well?
Take a look at Harrison's Judo highlights from the 2016 Rio Olympics.