Chelsea Hackett explains why 2024 PFL 4 is 'the best time' to face Dakota Ditcheva


Chelsea Hackett might be a heavy underdog according to the oddsmakers, but she’s feeling like there’s no better time to face opponent Dakota Ditcheva.

The time is Thursday, at 2024 PFL 4, which takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Hackett (4-2-1) vs. Ditcheva (11-0) serves as the co-main event.

“If there was a camera on me, I was jumping up and down,” Hackett recently told MMA Junkie Radio. “I was so excited. I have said I wanted to fight Dakota for almost a year now. That’s not me being egotistic. This is me being a competitor. Competitor vs. competitor. All due respect to Dakota and all of that, but I’ve wanted to fight her because I truly believe I have the tools to beat her. Obviously, when I found out I’ve got her, especially coming off a loss, I wasn’t really sure if I’d get the opportunity. But as soon as I found out, I was over the moon.”

The history between Hackett and Ditcheva extends back a decade – though it’s pleasant and respectful. The two fighters competed at the International Federation of Muaythai Associations (IFMA) World Games approximately a decade ago. Hackett remembers watching Ditcheva, who competed a weight class below her.

“She was in the 52kg, I’m pretty sure. I was in the 57kg,” Hackett said. “I remember seeing her at the IFMA Games back then a bit. It would’ve been like 10 years ago now. … I went two years: 2014 to 2015. I’m pretty sure Dakota went both of those years, as well. But Valentina, in 2015, did the same thing. So I saw Dakota and I saw Valentina 10 years ago at the IFMA World Games, so it’s pretty crazy to see where all of our lives have ended up. It’s like we’re now coming together.”

The similarities stick out to Hackett, but so do the differences. The most glaring difference is their position in the 2024 women’s flyweight standings. Ditcheva sits in first place with six points at 1-0. Hackett is in seventh place with no points and an 0-1 record.

Despite the stakes, Hackett views the bout as individual. The circumstances are blocked out.

“The reason why I really wanted this fight, especially in the position I’m in now, is obviously because I have nothing to lose,” Hackett said. “For me, the points are one thing. Let’s take that away with the season format for a second. Me beating Dakota, whatever way it may be – stoppage, decision, whatever round it’s in – that’s a huge win for me. That is also why I wanted this fight. It’s the best time in my career to fight someone like Dakota. Coming off the back of a loss, I’m as hungry as ever. As much as the points are obviously important to stay in the whole tournament, this fight for me, I’m looking at it as a single fight because that’s how big it is.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for 2024 PFL 4.

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