Following a loss to Cris Cyborg in January that cost her the Bellator featherweight championship, and the onset of the coronavirus lockdowns, for former titleholder Julia Budd getting an opportunity to close out her 2020 against Jessy Miele at Bellator 244 last August was a big thing.
Budd was able to pick up a unanimous decision victory over Miele and get herself back on track, continuing the trend of never having lost two fights in a row during her 11-year career.
“I felt like it was awesome that I was able to get back in there after my fight with Cyborg in early 2020,” Budd told MMAWeekly.com. “I was hoping to get in there even sooner so it’s awesome that I’m back on one of the early (2021) Bellator cards back in there (following the win).
“I was happy but I really wanted the finish in that fight. I always want to even do better than I do, but I was proud of myself.”
In her constant journey to improve, Budd ran into an unexpected adjustment she had to make in training this past year.
“I’m just constantly evolving and getting better in every aspect,” said Budd. “I train my wrestling. I train my ground. I train my striking. I’m constantly evolving my skills so I can go in there and have better performances and look for those finishes earlier.
“Adjusting from five-round fights to three-round fights has been a little bit of adjustment, so it’s been nice getting training for three-round fights in.”
This Friday in Uncasville, Connecticut, Budd (14-3) will look to build a winning streak for herself when she faces Dayana Silva (9-5) in a preliminary 145-pound bout at Bellator 257.
“I was familiar with her before Bellator mentioned her, and after studying her and seeing what she does, I feel like my overall experience, my strength, and how well-rounded I am as a mixed martial artist is going to play into how I’m going to get that win that night,” Budd said of facing Silva.
“I respect her. I respect the team she comes from. I’ve seen she’s been doing MMA for longer than I have, but I’m prepared and I know I’m going to go out there and shine.”
Having gone through what she did in 2020, Budd is just looking to approach things one opportunity at a time as she seeks to work her way back into title contention this year.
“I think the last year has definitely taught me to take it one fight at a time, one day at a time, so this is the most important fight for me, and making sure I make a statement of who I am and why I was the champ for so long,” said Budd. “I’m still super hungry and motivated and I’m not going anywhere.”