Bellator champ Julia Budd believes Cris Cyborg fight is 'destined to be'

Fresh off of inking a new contract with Bellator, women’s featherweight champion Julia Budd is eyeing the biggest challenges possible.

On Friday night, Budd (12-2 MMA, 6-0 BMMA) will defend her title against Olga Rubin (6-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) in the main event of Bellator 224, which takes place at the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla., and airs on Paramount following prelims on MMA Junkie.

Eager to take on Rubin, Budd can’t help but to feel excited about the collective state of the Bellator women’s 145-pound division as Bellator 224 features two additional women’s featherweight matchups.

Budd will be watching both closely.

“There’s always somebody that’s hungry, coming up the ranks, trying to take away everything I’ve worked my ass off for,” Budd told MMA Junkie. “So, I’m training, and when I found out it was her, I was actually really excited.

“I watched her fight Cindy Dandois. I watched her fight Iony Razafiarison. I watched those two fights, and I was excited when they said, ‘Well, how do you feel about fighting Olga next?’ I was like, ‘Right on. Bring it on.’ I think overall, she’s pretty well rounded. I think I match up amazingly against that, so I’m excited.”

While she said she’s not overlooking Rubin, Budd admitted she’s always interested in setting up the biggest tests possible. With free agency looming for one of the sport’s biggest stars, ex-UFC champion Cris Cyborg, Budd is hoping a victory Friday will secure that matchup.

“I want the biggest, best challenges for my career, and the best competitors,” Budd said. “That’s something that drives me. I feel like that fight has to happen, obviously. I can prove that we’re the best fighters in the world in Bellator. It’s got to happen.”

According to Budd, she has history with Cyborg (20-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC). When Budd was still competing in kickboxing, Cyborg was fighting for Bellator president Scott Coker while he was the head of Strikeforce. The promotion contacted Budd about potentially stepping in to face the Brazilian champion in her MMA debut.

“The very first fight I ever got offered while I was still kickboxing was Cris Cyborg,” Budd said. “I had to Google her to see who she was. This was in 2009. I was like, ‘Who?’ That was before I started grappling or doing anything on the ground whatsoever. I was like, ‘Oh my God. That’s who they wanted to bring me in for Strikeforce in my very first fight.’ I think it’s destined to be.”

In order to set up a matchup with Cyborg, Budd knows she must get past Rubin with flying colors. The champion reiterated she is not taking the challenger easy.

“I’ve just go to make sure I have the best, most dominating performance of my career on July 12, and I do what I do,” Budd said. “That being said, I would definitely welcome (Cyborg) over to Bellator.”

For more on Bellator 224, check out the MMA schedule.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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