Jozette Cotton spoke to MyMMANews about her upcoming rematch with Kayla Harrison at Titan FC 66 on Dec. 17.
Jozette Cotton never stopped thinking about a chance at redemption after her first meeting with Kayla Harrison. Both women met in 2018 during the regular season of the Professional Fighters League (PFL) and Harrison ultimately defeated Cotton by way of third-round technical knockout, which was just the second professional win for the two-time Olympian turned mixed martial artist.
The loss to Harrison ended her run with PFL, but Cotton wanted to continue fighting even if it would not be directly in the mixed martial arts community. Offers from Bare Knuckle Fighting to Boxing were all presented to Cotton, who accepted every one that came her way but eventually settled on boxing for the time being. After making her professional debut earlier this year, which resulted in a majority draw against Jordanne Garcia, Cotton was ready to go again a few months later and the timing could not have been more perfect.
Cotton was made aware of a challenge put out by her former opponent in Harrison for a 150-pound catchweight fight on the final Titan Fighting Championship card of the year, Titan FC 66. She did not have to give it a second thought because Cotton was already looking to get that fight back against Harrison nearly two years after the first one happened.
All that needed to happen now was an acceptance.
“First of all, I lost my phone. I do that a lot and when I got my phone back, you know how it is,” Cotton told MyMMANews. “When you turn your phone off and you turn it back on, there’s a lot of notifications. I got pinged in every direction I could think of, so I get on my Instagram page and one of the first things I looked at was my homeboy tagging me in something. I read the caption and it was like, ‘Anybody wants to fight me?’ Well, that’s not what she said clearly, but it was more of an informal callout. It continued, ‘Does somebody want to fight at 150 [pounds]?’ and I responded letting her know that I did want to fight.
“I got even more messages in my inbox with the main one being from my guy at All Star MMA, saying ‘Jozette, she is looking for a fighter’ and I said well you know what it is. Make it happen. She wanted to fight at 150, but it’s quarantine and I ain’t making it to 150 right now, so I told him to tell them I would do it at 155. In a couple days, they got everything together and made it work. I got my contract and I’m super excited about this.”
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With the fight seamlessly coming together by the power of social media, Cotton began preparing for Harrison for a second time, but there was something that kept bothering her about the way it did. She did not appreciate the approach in which Harrison used to get a fight because Cotton believed it made it seem as though no one wanted to fight her.
Considering she has fought her before and would gladly do it again, Cotton took umbrage with not being immediately acknowledged.
“When you call out somebody, you pick who you want,” said Cotton. “If you’re the baddest [expletive] around, you say what the [expletive] you want. In this case, I say it was an informal callout because she didn’t call anyone out specifically. Like I said, all you have to do is direct message me on Twitter and we can make it happen. We’ve spoken face-to-face a number of times. You know you ain’t looking for no fighter when Jozette Cotton is in the [expletive] room. Jozette is still competing, so ain’t no woman in this world say they can’t get a fight. I’m the one who can’t find a [expletive] fight and here you are talking about it. All you had to do was call me. I don’t know who you think you are, but any time of the day, Jozette is ready to fight. It kind of pissed me off how they were like she has nobody to fight.”
“She’s an awesome athlete, but don’t make it seem like nobody wanted to fight you.”
Cotton may be excited that she was able to get the rematch with Harrison, but she is even more excited to showcase her skills in a way they have never been seen before. She says that fans only caught a glimpse of what she is actually capable of in their first fight, so this second fight with Harrison will see her competing at 100 percent.
“I get to show everybody what I wasn’t able to do the first time,” said Cotton. “Nobody really got to see my ground game. I mean they saw me getting out of it in a lot of [expletive] they felt like I shouldn’t have stayed down for. I don’t know at what point in the fight it happened, but my knee ended up getting really [expletive] up. I don’t know what round it was, but I couldn’t push up on that knee. I couldn’t get my legs going as far as I needed to get up to my feet, so it was more or less about stopping the submission attempts and coming out the back door. Just basically neutralizing everything she was trying to do and I was doing all of that with one leg.
“Now, I’m healthy as can be and I don’t know what the [expletive] she think she gonna get from me on the 17th but a beatdown.”
Cotton has had time to think about how she sees the fight with Harrison going differently. While there are plenty of ways that have crossed her mind, Cotton sees her hands being raised after really putting it on Harrison in a way that has yet to be done to the undefeated red-hot prospect.
The intention is to leave quite the lasting memory on Harrison, which Cotton hopes is enough to keep her in PFL for good.
“I see a stoppage by way of either me submitting her or technical knockout,” said Cotton. “I’m not going to get stopped. There’s a lot of people that unfortunately she has to take the wrap for, so when I’m in that dominant position and I’m doing what I do, there will be no easy way out. I’m not going to let her off easy. When I get on the ground and it gets close to being stopped, I’m going to keep going until it is. I want to put her through a real MMA match and I want her to know that she’s in my realm. I need her to know that. This is the ‘Head Busta’ today. On the 17th, this is the woman that you didn’t get to meet in 2018. You didn’t know her, but today, you’re going to have something to remember me by. I really want to put a stamp on this.
“It’s a lot of [expletive] that I’m going to do to this girl and it’s not her fault. She’s just gonna have to take it. That first organization built the 155-pound division around you, so I’m gonna beat her ass and send her back to PFL where she belongs.”
Of course, Harrison is well-known for her work under the PFL banner, which has been nothing short of impressive over the last few years. Unfortunately, the league was shutdown indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic and that left Harrison and several other fighters in some sort of limbo as they would not be competing for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, she was allowed to compete in other promotions while PFL plotted its return in 2021, so Harrison most recently at Invicta Fighting Championships in November.
Harrison took on Courtney King in the main event of Invicta FC: 43, where she earned a second-round technical knockout. It was an excellent performance by Harrison, who competed for the first time at featherweight, but not everyone was blown away.
Cotton did not think too much of it and knows she will put up a better fight against Harrison.
“All I saw was King getting with her and she was coming down from a weight class and not even dominating her like she should have,” said Cotton. “Stopped a couple of trips and it made her look like she wasn’t this person she portrays herself to be. This whole dominant person, but that’s not her. Courtney King you could see her as a woman straight off the street with some MMA gloves on. You sitting here yoked up, with the shoulders and forearms all big and you’re over there getting tossed and neutralized. She should’ve did better in that fight. She has show muscles. They keep asking me how strong she is and she is not that strong. Don’t let these muscles fool you. It has nothing to do what natural strength. She don’t possess what I have.”
A win over Harrison is something Cotton knows will bring about many changes in her fight career, so she is planning for the best case scenario. If she does indeed earn a win, then she hopes it will put her in front of the very fight promotions she has been trying to get signed to since starting her mixed martial arts journey.
“I think it’s going to shock the [expletive] world. Well, not the entire world, but maybe the people in Kayla’s world. Moving forward, it would basically allow me to do what I want as far as getting opportunities in other well-known promotions. Those promotions that I have been wanting to get into for so long with the skills that I possess. Who doesn’t want to see Jozette Cotton fight?
“I want to compete. I just want to say I’m the best woman to have did everything. That’s all I want. I really want to compete anywhere and everywhere and become a champion. Jozette is here and ain’t going anywhere. I answer all calls.”