In life, we all try to overcome bad things that have happened to us. At times it’s not easy, it can be heart-wrenching and emotional. For one South Florida MMA fighter, her will inside the cage is strong, but outside the cage, her message is even more powerful.

Kayla Harrison is one of the top female MMA fighters in the world.

Being in the cage is her comfort zone.

“I’m here to do a job and that’s to go out and instill my will and prove to everyone that I’m not the baddest woman grappler in the world, I’m the baddest woman in the world. Period,” Harrison said.

Harrison is training for her Oct. 27 professional match at the Seminole Hard Rock.

Harrison, 31, has been unstoppable since turning pro.

“I wanna evolve as a fighter inside the cage, but also as a human being, you know,” she said. “I don’t wanna be the same person I was when I was 16. That kid was an [expletive].”

Harrison said part of being rebellious at a young age was due to going to hell and back.

It happened while training years before her first Olympics in Judo.

She won two gold medals for the United States at the 2012 and 2016 summer games.

“I’ve been to the deepest, darkest, most terrible places that a human being’s soul can go,” Harrison said. “I’ve had things happen to me that should never happen to anyone.”

Harrison suffered years of sexual abuse from a former Judo coach.

“There were moments when I wanted to die, there were moments when I was suicidal, there were moments when I thought that it wasn’t worth it, you know,” she said. “Not just to go and keep doing Judo, but it wasn’t worth it to live.”

Harrison credits the people who believed in her for changing her life.

She has written a book, Fighting Back, which has nothing to do with MMA fighting.

“I want every kid in America to have to know what sexual abuse is, to have to know what it looks like and I also wanna give people hope. So many victims fall prey to staying the victim, and a lot of them don’t make it out of that, ever in their lives. I wanna change that.”

Harrison recently became the legal guardian of her young niece and nephew.

Copyright 2022 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox