Last month, Aspen Ladd turned 23 years old.
The California native will have the chance to deliver herself a late birthday present Saturday when she meets Leslie Smith at UFC Fight Night 128. The bout serves as the UFC Fight Pass main event from the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Last October, Ladd made her UFC debut with a second round TKO victory over Lina Lansberg via strikes. The win was her sixth in six pro fights, with five of those being stopped early.
As an amateur, Ladd made her mark, going 8-1. She turned pro in 2015, signing with Invicta FC and promptly stopped Ana Carolina Vidal in the first round.
Ladd fought four more times for Invicta FC, scoring wins over Amanda Cooper, Kelly McGill, Jessica Hoy and Sijara Eubanks, who made the finals of The Ultimate Fighter before being pulled from the championship bout with a medical condition.
To say Ladd is a future title contender would be an understatement. With her skills, look and appeal, she just might be the face of the division for years to come.
Assuming she is able to get past the veteran Smith this weekend, of course.
Smith has shared the cage with the likes of UFC champion Cris Cyborg, Jessica Eye, former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman and Barb Honchak among others. She is also part of the push to unionize fighters in the sport, making her a key face in that regard.
If Ladd is able to corral her seventh career win, it might not be very long before she’s competing for UFC flyweight gold.
FightLine will have complete coverage all week of UFC Fight Night 128, including predictions and a recap of the action. We will also bring you news from around the MMA world, including Bellator MMA, ONE Championship and Legacy Fighting Alliance results.