After a disappointing 14-second knockout loss to Amanda Nunes to start out the year, Canadian 145-pound up-and-comer Julia “Jewel” Budd rebounded in June with a unanimous decision victory over former nemesis Germaine de Randamine.
“It was a huge accomplishment for me because I had lost to her in kickboxing and I was pretty much counted out in that fight because of my fight with Amanda Nunes before,” said Budd.
“It was an awesome experience, and I think I proved myself in there that I could go in there and work for a full 15 minutes. I’d never done that before, so it was a confidence booster for sure.”
Though she’s happy with her overall performance, Budd did point out areas she felt she needed to further polish in training.
“I didn’t want to stand with her, so I was concentrating on my grappling, and yeah there is stuff on the ground that I feel like I need to improve on for sure,” Budd told MMAWeekly.com.
“In the first round, I rolled for an arm bar and I wasn’t listening (to my corner) at all and they were telling me not to and I did anyway. I ended up getting clocked with a big right hand that kind of rocked me, so I learned from that. I also learned that I want to work my stand-up more and trust in my Muay Thai skills.”
While the fight may look like a classic striker versus grappler affair, Budd doesn’t think it is it that simple.
“With every fight you have to be prepared for everything,” she said. “I’m prepared for her to try to kickbox with me and everything. I think she’s becoming a well-rounded mixed martial artist as well. She’s obviously got more skills than her judo, but it’s worked well for her so far.
“I’m more than just a striker. I know people are counting me out again, like last time, and they counted me out against Shana Olsen as well, but I just sort of do my best when I’m (the underdog) like that.”
Many feel that this fight could very well determine the top contender for Cris “Cyborg” Santos’ Strikeforce featherweight title. Budd is inclined to agree with them.
“It’s not on my mind, but I definitely see that’s where it is with the 145-ers, that it’s just us right now,” she said. “I’m ready to get in there. I’m also grateful to have an opponent like Ronda. I respect her, I respect her skills, and I know it’s a test for me, and this is what I like.”
With Strikeforce’s future the subject of much debate, and comments made by UFC president Dana White that would allude to women’s MMA not having a place in that promotion, Budd was asked if she feels additional pressure to perform to ensure possible future prospects in Zuffa.
“I don’t really pay attention to that,” answered Budd. “There are enough of us now that we’ve made a name for ourselves in the industry, and if they don’t want to keep us, someone else will (pick us up). I’ve got my faith in it.
“I’m going to go out there and focus on doing what I’ve got to do and fighting the best fight of my life. Training has gone excellent and I have a great team behind me and I couldn’t ask for anything else.”