Bellator champ Julia Budd set to return, eager to showcase all she brings to the table

Being polite and not wanting to bother her employer, left Julia Budd on the sidelines for longer than she would have preferred. But in the end, everything appears to be coming up aces for Bellator MMA’s featherweight champion.

“It ended up being a simple miscommunication,” Budd said while speaking with Sporting News on Friday evening. “I was waiting for them to call and sometimes you get lost in the mix and you get pissed off waiting on something that can be hammered out by sitting down for coffee.

“It turned out to be perfect timing for me because I had a lot of stuff going on this fall and winter,” continued the Port Moody, British Columbia resident, who earned a third-round stoppage win over the previously- undefeated Talita Nogueira in her last appearance back in July. “I was doing stunt work and that was a great opportunity to get my feet wet in that industry. We lost (my husband, Lance Gibson’s) father in January, so that was a lot of time to just take care of my family and at the end of the day, this was perfect timing.”

Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a year

The surging titleholder is energized because on Friday night, her return to the cage became official.

“In my hometown of Thackerville, Oklahoma, I’ll be fighting Olga Rubin on July 12,” joked Budd, who will be competing at the WinStar World Casino & Resort for the fourth consecutive fight when she takes on the undefeated challenger Rubin, who pushed her record to 5-0 with a unanimous decision win over Iony Razafiarison last month at Bellator 217.

“I knew because she’s got two wins in a row and she’s undefeated, it makes a lot of sense for me to fight her first,” Budd said of the pairing with Rubin.

In addition to signing the contract for her next title defence, which takes place roughly one year after her victory over Nogueira, the 35-year-old’s recent trip to San Jose to sit down with Scott Coker, Rich Chou and the rest of the Bellator MMA braintrust, provided the dominant champion with a clearer understanding of the direction her division is heading in and a greater sense of optimism that it won’t take four years for her to get through the new four-fight deal she inked with the promotion.

“We hadn’t really been on the same page since my last fight, so it felt really good to go down there, figure out what our plan was a look forward to the future of the 145-pound division,” explained Budd, who has struggled to remain as active as she would like over the past few years, at times because of injuries, but other times because of a lack of challengers.

But the Canadian powerhouse, who is a perfect 6-0 under the Bellator MMA banner, including two successful title defenses, and has won 10 consecutive outings overall, is healthy and eager to fight.

“The 145-pound division has been difficult (to showcase) because people that they’ve groomed to be the next challenger haven’t been winning consistently,” Budd said. “I get it, but look at me — I’m f— beautiful, I can fight, I speak well. I just showed you what I can do in my last fight. I put it all together and if you have to base the whole division around me, I’m ready.

“I’m happy and I’m at a stage in my career where I want to be the face of the division,” she continued. “I believe in my skills and everything can come together and I’m ready to show what I can do.”

Budd has more than proven herself inside the cage and her last outing against Nogueira was her most dominant to date.

Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a year

She has all the resume, skills, and traits you would look for in a superstar talent to build a division around and showcase as a cornerstone of a promotion, save for being an eager trash talker; she is a Canadian fighter after all.

Now, after finally sitting down with Scott Coker & Co. and getting things ironed out and lined up for 2019 and beyond, Budd is counting down the days until she gets to step back into the cage, defend her title once more and continue to build her legacy.

“It’s so freakin’ awesome — I’m ready to kick some butt and hungrier than ever,” she said of finally having a fight lined up and knowing the direction the division is headed. “For me, it’s about my legacy over the rest of my career, which isn’t that long. I signed a four-fight deal and I plan on having four awesome fights with Bellator and it feels so good. I’m excited about the future.”

Source: Read Full Article