Just a few short years ago, women’s MMA was a fringe sport within a fringe sport, but fast forward to today and the women’s divisions have become one of the most interesting and exciting facets of MMA. In fact it could be argued that the biggest, most recognizable star in MMA today is a woman.

It’s amazing how far women’s MMA has come in such a short period of time, but we’re only beginning to scratch of the surface of what women’s MMA could be. The sport is filled with talented and engaging athletes justing waiting to breakthrough; Bellator featherweight Julia Budd is one of those athletes.

“It’s amazing all of these opportunities now that the guys were getting we’re getting them now,” Budd told The MMA Corner. “Fans are falling in love with the way that the females are fighting because we leave it all out on the line and we don’t hold back. I think it’s actually bringing a lot more fans to MMA; they’re saying, ‘Wow these girls are warriors.’ It’s exciting, the people, even just the people where I live that are now following it; there’s way more fans that are in to it now.”

One of the first people the really buy in to women’s MMA was Bellator President Scott Coker. Coker was the founder and CEO of Strikeforce and he helped to launch the careers of Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate and Gina Carano. Now at the helm of Bellator, Coker has been making moves to strengthen their women’s division.

“I think that it’s (the addition of a women’s featherweight division) going to be another reason why people tune in to Bellator,” Budd said. “They’re going to be getting great women’s MMA fights and we’re high level athletes and we’re going to put on a good show for the fans.”

While other organizations have focused on the lighter weight classes in women’s MMA, Bellator is making a push towards highlighting the women’s featherweight division.

“I feel like they (Bellator) have a handful of us and we are all high level and hopefully they add more to the roster and keep building it,” Budd said. “We’ll show that the 145ers are the most exciting division in women’s MMA.”

Budd is a lifelong athlete who began her martial arts training in a garage in high school. Once she began training she was hooked. A kickboxer by trade, Budd’s transition to MMA came as the result of timing more so than a plan.

“I was having a hard time finding kickboxing fights so I started doing the grappling to stay in shape as well between my kickboxing bouts,” Budd said. “We got an amazing opportunity with Strikeforce to fight Shana Nelson on their Strikeforce Challengers card. I was in California at the time and it was perfect timing; we accepted the fight and from there we haven’t stopped.”

On Friday, February 13, 2015, Budd will make her Bellator debut against Gabrielle Halloway and there only one thing on her mind.

“I definitely want to be the Bellator 145 pound champion,” Budd said. “Whenever that belt comes up and they decide to put that fight together I want to be fighting for it. So that’s what’s really driving me, that’s what’s kind of propelling me forward and pushing me in training. That’s been a goal since I started to be a champion. I feel like this is a great opportunity and there’s a great bunch of us in the division and I can’t wait to fight for it. I’m going to prove why I deserve a title shot and why they should make a 145-pound title in Bellator.”

 

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.