Los Angeles, CA — Headlining Saturday night’s Bellator 238 is a women’s featherweight showdown years in the making.
Julia Budd (13-2) has long been the best featherweight in Bellator MMA. Cris Cyborg (21-2, 1NC) was, until she ran into Amanda Nunes, the best featherweight in the UFC.
While Cyborg is the household name, Budd isn’t quite as known, yet, to many outside the most dedicated MMA fans. Despite her only losses coming to Nunes and Ronda Rousey. That’s something that is about to change, Budd suggested when speaking to Cageside Press this week.
“There’s a lot of people who know who I am, but I feel like this is an introduction to everybody in the world,” the reigning champion stated.
As to why she’s going to retain gold against the fearsome Cyborg, Budd added “because I refuse to lose, and I’ve worked my butt off for this. It’s my belt, and I’m coming home with it.”
Having an opponent like Cris Cyborg, said Budd, is “so motivating. It was constant energy all camp. It’s [been] an amazing training camp leading up to this, and I’m motivated. She wasn’t just on my radar since she came to Bellator. She’s been on my radar my entire career.”
It’s the sort of name that makes you go the extra mile, she agreed. “I think that it’s extra motivation. You just want to work harder,” she admitted. “I’m getting told to leave the gym, not come into the gym. But I’m always motivated. I stay ready. I believe you have to as a champion. So I’m always training and trying to evolve as a mixed martial artist.”
As for what she’s taken away from the wins that brought her to this point, Budd didn’t specify. But she noted that it’s not just wins that matter. “I draw from the victories, I draw from the defeats, I draw from every experience. My whole path, I’m so grateful for. Getting me here, it’s been a long road, and I’m ready.”
It’s a bit of a surprise to only now see Budd atop a major card for Bellator. Still, the timing could not be better, she said. “I think it’s the perfect timing with an opponent like Cris and I. It’s the perfect timing to put us on this card. It’s so close for all my family back home to come to. I feel really blessed to be here. I’m excited.”
Julia Budd faces Cris Cyborg this Saturday, January 25 at The Forum in Los Angeles, CA. The fight serves as the Bellator 238 main event, airing live on DAZN.