Bellator 238’s Julia Budd on Cris Cyborg: “This is a legacy fight”

Julia Budd Bellator MMA
Julia Budd, Credit: Bellator MMA

Julia Budd takes on Cris Cyborg for the Bellator MMA featherweight title at this weekend’s Bellator 238. The blockbuster bout tops the card at The Forum in Inglewood, California. Budd will be defending her championship against the debuting Cyborg in a hotly anticipated 145lb fight. The show is set to be broadcast on DAZN, and kicks off the year in a big way for Bellator MMA.

Career Development

Gibson MMA has been an integral part of Budd’s development as a martial artist over the years. It’s also family. “My regular crew. I’ve been there for over twenty years,” explained Budd. “Lance Gibson Sr, my coach my husband. His son Lance Gibson Jr… I’ve got this crew of guys that have really developed me into the mixed martial artist that I am today.”

The connectivity of martial artists in BC has created a strong kinship among British Columbia fighters over the years. Budd added that “My first kickboxing instructor was my husband Lance Gibson.” Gibson, she said, would come in on the weekends and take privates from the likes of Mike Miles, who has also worked with Hakeem Dawodu among others.

It has been a long road but now the Bellator champion is getting the biggest fight of her career at the best possible time. “More so just so excited that this fight has presented itself at this stage in my career,” exclaimed Budd. “When I’m at my absolute best. I’m really, really excited. I’ve had an amazing training camp. I’ve been getting ready for this and I’ve known about her for so many years. Studied her and I’m ready to get in there and show the world who I am.”

Fighting the Biggest Names

“It’s a huge opportunity and we’re the first fight card of the year,” Budd said of the tentpole event that is Bellator 238. “Everything in me has gone into preparing for this fight.”

The only losses Budd has came against Ronda Rousey and Amanda Nunes during a four-fight stretch to begin her career. Since then though, she has gone undefeated and clearly learned from those defeats by notching a win streak of over ten fights.

Budd stated that “When you have the competitive drive and the heart, well I can only speak on my own part, but being the champion and being the very best is always something that has driven me. I hate losing. It sucks but I just think that I was never going to give up. I wanted to get back in there. Show what I could do.”

“Even in the Germaine [de Randamie] fight, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to win that fight or not,” continued Budd. “I prepared so hard for it and I was so ready. To be able to get the loss back from the Muay Thai fight, it gave me a lot of confidence. All the fights, the wins and losses prepared me and made me the champion I am today. I’m grateful for the losses as well as the wins.”

Bellator 238: Budd vs. Cyborg and Beyond

The multi-time defending featherweight champion also seems to have an affinity for pro wrestling to a degree. Budd didn’t outright dismiss the idea of a crossover at some point but is very much laser-focused on her next task.

“I just haven’t looked past anything. Right now while I’m in the sport and while I’m competing in the sport, my number one goal is to be the absolute best mixed martial artist that I can possibly be,” said Budd. “In the future, if that presents itself and I get into professional wrestling, maybe. Right now, this is all I want.”

To wrap things up, Julia Budd stated “I think it’s big for me. This is a legacy fight. I believe that it’s important for my career. We’ve put everything into this. Training and being at my absolute best has been my full focus this entire training camp. I can’t wait to go in there and really show who I am. Introduce myself to the world and people that might not know who I am as an athlete.”

Julia Budd faces Cris Cyborg in the Bellator 238 main event this Saturday, January 25 at The Forum in Inglewood (Los Angeles), California. The card airs live on DAZN.