Los Angeles, CA — Needless to say, Saturday was not Julia Budd’s night. At Bellator 238 in Los Angeles, Budd put her featherweight title on the line against Cris Cyborg.
She entered the night a champion. Now, the word “former” is attached to that. Cyborg, in her promotional debut, put Budd away in the fourth round with a volley of strikes underscored by a body shot that sent the Canadian down, covering up. The end came seconds later.
“It’s not how I expected it to go down. I made some mistakes, and I plan on coming back stronger,” Budd (13-3) told media outlets including Cageside Press at the post-fight press conference.
Explaining the loss, Budd offered that “there were things in my game plan that didn’t go according [to plan]. I wasn’t supposed to go back. I wasn’t supposed to have my back on the cage. That was a key part of my training camp, and my training camp was amazing. So there’s no excuses on my part.”
While there was much talk about the aura of Cyborg, the mystique she brings to the cage, “I can’t blame it on that,” said Budd. “It was just not my night in there. She’s the champ for a reason. But I’ll be back.”
An immediate rematch, given she was a defending champ, interests her, of course. “It’s up to Bellator, what they want to do. But yeah, pretty much.”
In terms of improvements to be made, Budd outlined a number of key areas. “Forward pressure. Use my hands more, use my boxing more. Not rely too much on the kicks,” she said. Her kicks in particular put her in harm’s way, as several times, Cyborg was able to catch one, leaving Budd vulnerable. “On the ground, wrestling better. It was just little things that led to a big thing.”
They key to Cyborg’s win in Budd’s eyes, however, was “just her forward pressure. And then she started landing and then it started pressing me back more, and my back was against the cage. And then I stayed there too long. I just stayed there too long, and made some mistakes, and I’ve got to work on them.”
“I expected her to bring it. I’ve seen all of her fights, I’ve studied her. I did my job in the training camp leading up to this,” Budd later added. “It was just not my night.”
Outside of Amanda Nunes, it has not really been anyone’s night against Cyborg in well over a decade. Budd put up a good fight, and the bout was competitive enough that a rematch at some point wouldn’t be a hard sell. But will it come in a grand prix, as the new champion has suggested?
“It’s exciting,” said Budd when asked about the idea. “I mean it’s exciting. I’m kind of just sitting on tonight. I said this in all the lead-up to the media, I trained so hard for this night.”
“After tonight, it’s back to the drawing board, back to my team, and we’ll get back to work,” she added. “But it’s Bellator’s call.”
Watch the full Bellator 238 post-fight press conference with Julia Budd above!