Julia Budd admits that she was “pretty bummed” about not being able to have a busy season in 2022, after being forced out of a fight with Kayla Harrison earlier this year.
But after healing up from a broken orbital, she’s back to work later this month, welcoming Aspen Ladd to the PFL at the league’s 2022 World Championship on November 25 — which also marks the promotion’s debut on Pay-Per-View.
Budd vs. Ladd kicks off the seven-fight PPV card that night.
Speaking during a Face-Off interview session with the media on Tuesday, B.C., Canada native Budd (16-4), a former Bellator MMA women’s featherweight champ, addressed the fight, and the move (back) to featherweight. After three seasons with only lightweight available for female fighters, the exit of Kayla Harrison from the tournament format has seen a shift, with the Ladd fight, and next season, to come at 145lbs.
“This is a better weight for me. At 155 [pounds, lightweight], I walk at 160, 161. That was as big as I could get when I’m training full time and putting all the— training as much as I am for my fights,” Budd explained. “So this is a better weight class for me, and it’s one that I’ve been dominant in most of my career. Yeah, definitely featherweight.”
Harrison leaving the tournament format following 2022 means the long-awaited fight between her and Budd is on the backburner for now. Kayla will look to three-peat as lightweight champ later this month, and has signed on for a series of bouts outside the season format next year. It feels, in a way, like the one that got away, given how eager fans were to see Harrison tested against Budd.
“I definitely want that fight,” Budd told Cageside Press on Tuesday. “Maybe, it might feel that way [like the one that got away]. I’m not sure. It’s kind of like, yeah, she’s still fighting. So I could still see that fight happening at a Pay-Per-View card, at 145 or at 155. It wouldn’t really matter. But yeah, I think there would be a little bit of disappointment that that fight never happened.”
In the meantime, Budd has Aspen Ladd to focus on. And maybe, just maybe, she can convince the promotion to head north to Canada, after her old home in Bellator failed to capitalize on her time as champ by returning to the market.
“Absolutely. Yeah I know that was a bit of a disappointment as well with Bellator,” Budd acknowledged. “I wanted that card to come to my home town, and be able to really show out. But yeah maybe PFL will come up here and have a card up here.”
Julia Budd faces Aspen Ladd at the PFL 2022 World Championship on November 25, 2022 at the Hulu Theater in New York, NY.