After dominating in her first fight for Strikeforce this past October, Julia “Jewel” Budd had some people buzzing that she could be the next big thing in the women’s 145-pound division.
Things, however, took a dramatically different turn in January when she was caught flat-footed against Amanda Nunes and she was knocked out in just 14 seconds.
“Basically, it’s a learning experience,” Budd told MMAWeekly.com. “She came out and started throwing right away and I really didn’t get a chance to settle in.
“The way I look at it, I stubbed my toe. I got right back into training the next day and refocused, and that’s pretty much were I’m at.”
Even with the loss, Strikeforce feels Budd is worthy of a chance to grow with the promotion, thus they have brought her back to fight this Friday in Kent, Wash., in a feature bout at Strikeforce Challengers 16.
“I’m really grateful to get a second chance,” she said. “I’m going to go out there on Friday night and put on a good show.”
Budd is not one to push the panic button at the first sign of adversity, as she said when asked if she feels any additional pressure or made any major changes to her preparation following her loss.
“We changed up a couple of things, but I was fully prepared for that fight, so it’s not a matter of not being prepared, it’s just that (expletive) happens,” she said.
“Even in my Muay Thai career, I never had an easy route. I always got put in against big name opponents right away, so I’m kind of used to filling those shoes (of people’s expectations).”
Friday night, Budd will be facing a fighter in a similar position as her coming from the striking world in Germaine de Randamie.
“Germaine is a great Muay Thai fighter, and I respect her skills standing and I know she’s trying to cross over, but I feel like I’m a more well-rounded fighter,” said Budd.
Having suffered her first setback in her MMA career, Budd knows there’s still a long road to follow, and is more than willing to travel it and prove her worthiness in the sport.
“I’m totally focused on this fight for Friday,” she said. “But I feel like I’m going up from here. If there’s another opportunity in Strikeforce, that would be great to come back again.
“This is only my third MMA fight and I think that people forget that. They probably expect a lot, and I’m glad to fill those shoes and I want to show that I am a true fighter and that I’m here to stay.”