Bellator 224: “Budd vs. Rubin” takes place at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla., tomorrow night (Fri., July 12, 2019), featuring a Featherweight world title fight between division champion, “The Jewel” Julia Budd (12-2), against the undefeated Olga Rubin (6-0).
Budd has already beaten back two contenders since winning the title in the exact same venue back in 2017. In fact, both of her title defenses have also come at WinStar, one via split decision over Arlene Blencowe that year and a domination of Talita Nogueira last July. Budd will bring the confidence of a champion to Thackerville with a 10-fight win streak in tow, but she can’t afford to overlook Rubin in this defense. Half of Rubin’s wins come by knockout, and if Budd were to make a single mistake, Rubin would be happy to smash her and take the title back home to Israel.
MMAmania.com recently spoke with Budd about Rubin, who is coming to the United States and looking to take the gold from a Canadian ... in Oklahoma.
“I’m excited! I’m excited to get in there with her. I think she’s hungry, she’s been climbing the ranks, and yeah I can’t wait to get in there.”
They wouldn’t call her “Big Bad” if Rubin wasn’t hungry like the wolf. Budd may be affable with her fans, but her own voracious appetite for winning stretches back almost one decade.
“Nobody’s unbeatable (though) and I’ve been beaten. So that’s one thing — those two losses on my career, even though they were a long time ago, they are still in the back of my mind like it happened yesterday. So growing from those, I think that’s one of the reasons I’ve been able to be on this winning streak, because I’ve learned my lessons. You’ve got to grow and make sure that you know you can be beat. That’s one of the reasons I’m so prepared and I prepare for everybody so well.”
As someone who is proficient at kickboxing and uses her 67-inch reach well, Budd is relishing the fact that (as Mike Goldberg would say) “everything is virtually identical” when it comes to their sizes and styles, with Rubin being slightly longer at 69 inches.
“I always envision it. I see knockouts, I see submissions, I see myself TKO’ing her on the ground, I’ve seen everything. (To stand and trade) would be amazing and I’ve been working a ton on my striking this camp, so I’m excited to show it and use it.”
Visualization is a component to the success of many athletes. After eight years of winning, it’s clear that Budd can visualize almost any way standing or on the ground to win.
“I’ve only got one submission on my record, and that’s something that would be amazing to come away with, a submission victory on the 12th as well.”
“Amazing” was today’s superlative of choice, as Budd also used it to describe a card loaded with top flight talent from the world of women’s mixed martial arts (MMA).
“I think it’s amazing! I think it shows that they (Bellator) are committed to the 145-pound division, having three fights on the card, signing new fighters like Leslie Smith, I think it’s huge and I’m excited to headline it.”
Speaking of Smith, the Featherweight champion offered words of praise for her to welcome her into the promotion and recognize her as a future title contender.
“I think she’s definitely (worthy). I think just with her history and what she’s done in martial arts and MMA, she’d definitely be an exciting opponent and YEAH — I’d love to face her!”
Budd is also excited about the history the women inside (and outside) of Bellator are making and the example they set for future generations.
“It’s definitely motivation for me. I can’t speak on their part because I don’t know what motivates them, but for me knowing that little girls can watch female fighters get into the cage and compete against each other and that we’re these amazing athletes that are these fearless individuals that get in there and do it, I think that’s huge. For my nieces to be able to watch me and know they could one day do that — I didn’t have the chance to see that when I was a kid growing up.”
Of course, not everyone can be a role model, but Budd definitely hits the nail on the head that seeing everybody get equal opportunities to do what they want in life is fantastic.
“I think that all in all, it’s so cool to me that the women fighters have definitely gotten (opportunities) and it just keeps growing. So yeah it’s motivation for me that little kids can look up and say ‘Hey I want to be like her one day’ and that’s definitely a driving force for me in my career.”
Now is the time for her to take that motivation inside the cage and have a world class performance live and free on Paramount Network, hoping to hand Rubin her first loss.
“It’s great that it’s that accessible and that people are flipping through the channel (and seeing it), and everywhere that I go right now they’re saying ‘Oh I see you’re fighting!’ Like I’m getting stopped and that’s not really common in Canada. Like not saying that MMA isn’t popular but in B.C. (British Columbia) especially it’s not as big as it is in other places in the world. So they’re seeing it on their TV and the build up on the Paramount Network and I think it’s cool that they’re excited about it.”
Perhaps they’d be even more excited if “The Jewel” had a title defense at Rogers Arena in Vancouver? If she wins tomorrow night, it’s something for Bellator MMA and Viacom to think about.
Complete audio of our interview is embedded above, and complete coverage of “Budd vs. Rubin” resides here at MMA Mania all week long.
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