Former Bellator featherweight champ Julia Budd tests her skills against promotional newcomer Dayana Silva at Bellator 257 in a featherweight fight on Friday, April 16.
The card broadcasts on Showtime in the U.S. and is headlined by a rematch between Phil Davis and Vadim Nemkov. A sequel with the Bellator light heavyweight title on the line and a ticket to the Bellator light heavyweight Grand Prix semi-finals up for grabs.
This card is a special one for the former Bellator featherweight champion as she competes on the same card as her stepson. Lance Gibson Jr will be showcasing his skills as well and the pair will be cornering one another for their respective bouts.
“It’s so exciting. We were hoping to get him on the last card that I fought for Bellator,” Budd told us. “Because with the whole quarantine and everything that we got to do when we get back, we just wanted to be on the same card so we could do it together.”
Budd continued, saying that “Not having to quarantine and then come out and fly back to the states and quarantine again, it just makes more sense. We’re just excited to be both on the same fight card and it was great training together and getting ready for it together.”
The unanimous decision victory over Jesse Miele in her last outing was a curious one. It was a fight that saw Budd get back into the win column after losing her featherweight title to Cris Cyborg, but the triumphant W came whilst competing amid a global pandemic.
“It was great, they did a really good job,” Budd said of the situation. “Was definitely different with no fans in the crowd. But at the same time, it felt like we were in the gym for a sparring match. I was happy that I got the win but I obviously wanted to have a finish. It was great to get back in there and get a win but again, I wanted to finish that fight.”
Budd vs Silva
Dayana Silva is a former Shooto Brasil bantamweight champ readying for her Bellator debut. Someone Budd is more than familiarized with despite her being a promotional debutant.
“I think that she’s been in the game a long time. I really respect the team that she comes from and I’ve watched her fight. So I think it’s a great match-up for me and I’m looking forward to it,” Budd said in regards to he opponent.
Being back on Showtime after her nascent days in MMA taking place on that platform with Strikeforce, the historical backdrop of this moment is certainly not lost on Julia Budd.
“Definitely, I think that it just increases the visibility and it’s exciting. It’s where I started my career in MMA as well. So it’s great.”
Beyond her efforts in the cage, Budd uses her platform to spotlight worthwhile social causes. Attending anti-racism rallies as she did last summer and also spotlighting issues indigenous people face in Canada are some of the ways Julia Budd tries to spread that awareness.
“Last year was kind of a crazy year and I think that the increase in racism, it was crazy. Not just in the United States, but in Canada as well,” observed Budd. “Saw a few things in our community kind of around the same time that George Floyd was murdered. Our community got together and we had a march with over 3,000 people about racial justice.”
“It was very powerful and it was definitely something that I was proud to have my name, helping them, involved in. So that was definitely a step into something that I’ve never really tapped into before. But going forward, it’s something that I’m definitely going to be involved with more and more.”
Being a pioneer and growing the wave of women MMA competitors here in Canada is something that The Jewel takes a pronounced level of pride in.
“I’m proud that I get to be kind of one of the first, amongst other women but, mixed martial artists in Canada. Females that have really made it and been a champion. One of the biggest and best in Bellator.”
“Then to see the young girls coming up and looking up to me, it’s something that I pride myself in. I’m proud to be a role model for a lot of the up and comer mixed martial artists. So yeah it’s definitely something that I’m proud (of). To be a pioneer for sure.”
Despite this lengthy resume she possesses, the white belt mentality and perpetual desire to learn still permeate from Budd’s efforts.
“Well, that’s just it. It’s approaching every training session with more to learn. More to get better, learning from everyone. It’s just the way that I’ve approached martial arts. Before I was ever a fighter, I was a martial artist. Somebody that did this because I loved it. That’s how I feel still when I get a chance to get in there and compete. It’s still something that is super inspiring for me.”
“Where I like to test all my skills and get better, and work on different things. So I think that’s kind of the reason why I’m still doing this is. Because it’s still something that definitely is calling me to do. That’s kind of where I’m at and I just kind of approach every training session, every time that I get in there, with that attitude. Like a white belt like you say. Somebody that has a lot to learn and it keeps it fresh.”
Speaking to the point of always learning, Julia Budd has also taken up beekeeping as a hobby. It started as a COVID-19 lockdown project but is something Budd is looking to refine further and turn into a business endeavor eventually.
She is still a self-professed beginning beekeeper and there is a steep learning curve but it seems to be something Budd revels in.
Her consistent studiousness will be showcased in the form of this upcoming 145-pound clash. Budd and Silva collide at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut on Friday night.