Flyweight Valerie Loureda is trading in the cage for the squared circle.
The Bellator MMA “It” girl hasn’t fought since November, but earlier this year, was seen at the WWE Performance Center, and also attended WrestleMania in April. News quickly made the rounds that the 23-year old, who amassed a massive following on line, had landed a tryout with the pro wrestling outfit.
It seems they liked what they saw, as Loureda announced Wednesday on The MMA Hour that she had signed a deal with WWE. Terms of her agreement with Vince McMahon’s organization were not released, but the company historically has not let their stars compete in MMA, unless you’re Brock Lesnar.
“I have now become the first Cuban-American woman and I am now a WWE superstar,” Loureda told Ariel Helwani on Monday (h/t MMA Fighting). “I’m really excited, and I’ve dedicated my whole life to martial arts, and everything has come to this moment. And this is my opportunity to showcase my culture and entertain the world.
“I’m emotional because I’ve worked really hard in my whole life. I’ve had a very hard upbringing, and every day, I’ve always just believed in myself, and trained hard hoping to make it to the next step and just chasing a dream that I’ve had in my heart since I was a baby.”
Bellator President Scott Coker later confirmed the news, noting that Loureda would remain under contract with that promotion while she pursued her pro wrestling career. Meaning, should she ever return, they’ll retain the rights to her services. Loureda fought five times for his organization between 2019 and 2021, with her lone loss coming against Hannah Guy, currently seen on The Ultimate Fighter 30.
While numerous wrestlers have tried their hand at fighting over the years — from Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley, both of whom had high-level amateur wrestling backgrounds, to CM Punk and Dave Bautista — Loureda is among a number of fighters recently going the other way. Matt Riddle had a solid UFC run prior to being cut due to repeated drug test failures for marijuana, and is now one of the WWE’s biggest stars. Ronda Rousey is among the top women in pro wrestling, while Paige VanZant recently made her debut for AEW.