After spending much of the first five years of her MMA career healthy, in 2016, featherweight Julia Budd has spent much of her time on the sidelines recovering from injury.
During preparations for he scheduled Bellator bout with Marloes Coenen in May, Budd felt something go wrong in her back. As a result, she has spent the past five months waiting to fight again.
“About mid-April, I was grappling and I kind of felt a little pop in my lower back, and I thought everything was fine. As things went on, I couldn’t stand up at all,” Budd told MMAWeekly.com. “It was weird, my back got really crooked. I was leaning to one side.
“I gave it a week of just trying to get through it. I couldn’t train at all. I was hoping it was a muscle spasm or something, but it ended up being a herniated disc. I basically had to take six weeks and fully recover from it.”
Budd believes she had a problem long before the injury itself happened. Now that she’s fully recovered from it, she’s expecting to be able to fight better than she has in some time.
“When you’re not in pain, you’re so much happier. I’m in a good mood, I’m enjoying training again, I’m moving properly, and I’ve fallen back in love with the training part. I feel like the sky’s the limit. I’m so excited. My full game is back to 100-percent. I’m excited because I feel I can showcase my true potential.”
Budd (8-2) will look to showcase her rejuvenated game when she takes on Arlene Blencowe (7-5) in a main card 145-pound bout at Bellator 162 on Friday in Memphis, Tenn.
“I feel like I’ve got to use my whole MMA game: my up and down game, my striking, takedowns, submissions, you name it,” said Budd. “I know (Blencowe is) a strong girl. I’ve watched her fights. I really like her as a person, but I feel overall I’m going to be too much of a mixed martial artist for her.”
Having not fought for nearly a year, Budd is eager to get things rolling and fight as much as possible in the coming months.
“I don’t want to take a long layoff after this fight,” she said. “I feel fantastic, and I plan on fighting soon as possible. I really want to fight for that title belt that they keep saying they’re going to crown. I want that, and I want to prove I deserve it on October 21.”