Though she only had one fight in 2019, Bellator featherweight champion Julia Budd is nonetheless pleased with how her year turned out.
One of the main reasons why last year was so big for Budd is not only did she defend her title, but a dream match-up she had been wanting finally came to fruition.
“Last year in July I fought Olga Rubin and had a great performance,” Budd told MMAWeeekly.com. “It was awesome. It was a great training camp and everything leading up to that. I’ve just kind of built off that.
“I found out that Cyborg (Cris Justino) was signing with Bellator and I went right into a training camp for that fight. My performance (against Rubin) was awesome, I got a finish in the first round, and now I’m building off that for this camp.”
For Budd, facing Cyborg in 2020 is perfect timing, as she feels like she’s the best version of herself she’s ever been and the fight can be everything she’s wanted it to be.
“My eyes have been set on this fight,” said Budd. “I feel so blessed that it’s happening in a time in my career where I’m at my absolute best.
“I got offered this fight before I was even doing MMA, in 2008, when I was still kickboxing. I’m glad I didn’t face her then when I couldn’t be my absolute best. I felt like when she signed with Bellator this fight absolutely had to be made.”
Budd (13-2) will finally face Cyborg (21-2) in Bellator 238 main event on Saturday in Inglewood, Calif.
“You’ve kind of got to surrender in the moment,” said Budd. “I feel like I’ve trained so hard; you develop these instincts in training; you see so many opportunities and openings. But if you try to control it too much when you get in the cage, things don’t work.
“What I’ve figured out the last couple years is kind of letting go, and go in there and go with the flow, and know that my conditioning, my wrestling, my striking, everything is at its absolute best. I’ll be ready for anything on January 25, and I’m not leaving that cage without my hand raised.”
For Budd, everything in 2020 revolves around her bout with Cyborg. Her focus is on January 25, and nothing beyond it.
“This is it for me,” said Budd. “I never look past (what’s in front of me). I’m not taking anything for granted. The fact that I’m fighting in L.A., headlining Bellator’s first card of 2020, I’m going to enjoy every single moment and embrace this moment.
“From there, we’ll go back to the drawing board. They’re signing some amazing female athletes to the 145-pound division, so I’m sure I’ll have some good stuff coming up, but everything has been geared towards this fight, so I can’t look past it.”