Ladd 'definitely' returning to bantamweight, eyeing Tate next

Chris Unger / UFC / Getty

Aspen Ladd is putting her focus on the women's bantamweight division for the foreseeable future.

The UFC contender, whose last fight took place at featherweight after she missed weight for a scheduled bout in October, plans to go back down to 135 pounds for her next outing.

"My next fight will definitely be at bantamweight," Ladd told MMA Junkie's John Morgan.

Ladd's featherweight debut ended in a lackluster decision loss to Norma Dumont in a short-notice UFC main event. That result came two weeks after Ladd weighed in 1 pound over the bantamweight limit, causing the cancellation of her match against Macy Chiasson.

The Dumont loss marked Ladd's first trip to the cage since December 2019; a serious knee injury, opponent withdrawals, and her weight struggles kept her sidelined for almost two years.

The 26-year-old - who's ranked No. 4 in the women's bantamweight division - wants to return in February or March, and she's hoping to book a matchup against former champion Miesha Tate.

Tate criticized the corner work of Ladd's coach and boyfriend, Jim West, whom she thought was verbally aggressive with his fighter between rounds against Dumont. Tate, who's 1-1 since ending her retirement earlier in 2021, is coming off a decision loss to Ketlen Vieira in a UFC main event in November.

"I definitely want that fight," Ladd said. "(Tate) said some things; let's go handle this like adults."

Ladd was widely considered one of the most promising prospects in women's MMA after starting her UFC career with three straight victories, but she has now alternated wins and losses in her past four appearances.

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Ladd 'definitely' returning to bantamweight, eyeing Tate next
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