Julia Budd Signs with PFL, Will Fight Kaitlin Young on October 27

Julia Budd, Bellator MMA
Julia Budd, Bellator 238 Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

Former Bellator featherweight champion Julia Budd has officially signed with the PFL and will face Kaitlin Young on October 27.

The longtime former Bellator featherweight champion has found a new home.  On Wednesday, ESPN reported that Julia Budd had signed with PFL after recently becoming a free agent.  Shortly afterward, PFL confirmed the news with the announcement that she would make her promotional debut on October 27 against Kaitlin Young on the prelims of the Season 3 championship event.

A former Strikeforce and Invicta veteran, Budd has established herself as arguably the second best female featherweight of the past decade.  After starting her career in Strikeforce where she faced future UFC champions Ronda Rousey, Amanda Nunes, and Germaine de Randamie, “The Jewel” went on a 4-0 run in Invicta.  Budd then elected to sign with Bellator where she won seven more consecutive fights, winning the featherweight title and defending it three times along the way.  Following her loss to Cris Cyborg in 2020, Budd recorded two more victories under the Bellator banner before electing to test free agency earlier this summer.

Young is also an Invicta veteran who previously challenged for the promotion’s title and has fought her share of standouts in Gina Carano, Lauren Murphy, Leslie Smith, Pam Sorenson, and Julie Kedzie.  Young signed with the PFL earlier this year and went 1-1 during the season and did not qualify for the playoffs.  She was scheduled to fight in August but an injury removed her from the bout.

Notably, the announcement comes as promotional star Kayla Harrison is set to enter free agency following the end of the season.  While the PFL has made great strides in signing more notable talent, Harrison has been the centerpiece of the promotion for the past several years and is expected to be highly coveted on the free agent market should she win a second championship.  Harrison has frequently discussed her desire to be considered the best female fighter of all-time and how it requires eventually facing talent that has not been available in the PFL.  With the recent announcement that the PFL will also be entering the pay-per-view business in 2022, Budd’s signing is seen as part of the push to re-sign Harrison.