Bellator 224: “Budd vs. Rubin” takes place TONIGHT (Fri., July 12, 2019) at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma. The featured attraction is a women’s Featherweight bout between “The Jewel” Julia Budd (12-2), taking on the undefeated Olga Rubin (6-0) for the 145-pound title.
Budd’s mixed martial arts (MMA) accomplishments are impressive to say the least. Indeed, the last person she lost to was Ronda Rousey eight years ago in Strikeforce. The 10-fight win streak that followed not only crowned her Bellator’s inaugural Featherweight champion, but saw her defeat pioneers like Marloes Coenen along the way.
None of that is going to faze Rubin on Friday night, though. The Israeli-born fighter is dubbed “Big Bad” for a reason — 50 percent of her wins (three of six) have come via knockout and her unblemished record both outside and inside (4-0) Bellator put her in this enviable position. A win would be an upset in most eyes, but Rubin thrives in those very situations.
MMAmania.com recently chatted with Rubin about headlining Bellator 224 against Budd, launching her MMA career late and much more.
“Well, I started really late in my life. I started when I was 23. I hadn’t done any martial arts prior to that. I just saw a fight between Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate on Strikeforce and was completely mesmerized and decided, ‘This is what I want to do, and this is who I want to become — this lady inside the cage.’”
Given she’s 29 now that would be the “Tate vs. Rousey” card where Rousey became world champion by technical submission. “This lady” Rubin wanted to be isn’t Rousey, though.
“You know what? The person who left the biggest mark on me was not Ronda Rousey, but actually Miesha Tate. In fact, she felt the pain and she did not want to tap out. It was incredible to be able to want something that much that you won’t feel pain so I think it left a huge mark on me.”
“Basically, I had to work my ass off 24/7 just to make sure that I caught up with everybody else. It’s a good thing I didn’t get pregnant along the way and my professional career has been non-stop already.”
You might wonder if that’s a dig at Ronda Rousey, and while Rubin does respect all she accomplished in the sport, there’s a few things she thinks tarnish Rousey’s legacy.
“I just think she kind of, um, she was healthy as a fighter, but not so much inside as a human being. Basically, she said, ‘I didn’t want to live after that loss’ and this is all about (being) a sportswoman. This is sports. You either win or you lose. You don’t get to have these emotions over a fight. That’s why she just couldn’t get back (to MMA). She needs treatment basically.”
Rubin may not be the first to say it (in fact, Rousey has said as much herself), but it’s probably best for both parties that Rousey is retired given how she’d respond to someone saying it that bluntly.
It’s fitting that Rubin’s nickname is “Big Bad.” She may be positioning herself as the newer, badder, Featherweight version of Rousey ... except she doesn’t think she’s unbeatable.
“This is MMA. It’s a 50/50 chance anyway, right? And no one is unbeatable. Everybody got beaten. Everybody who said like ‘Cyborg will never be beaten’ or ‘Ronda’s never going to get hit’ — everybody’s beatable. Skill, athleticism and confidence are where things can go either way.”
Speaking of Cyborg, several Bellator fighters have noted that Cris Cyborg is underutilized in UFC given that the promotion doesn’t really don’t have a full division for her to fight. Rubin agrees.
“Basically, Amanda Nunes, she’s a Bantamweight, and I never thought that they were really trying to expand the (Featherweight) division. They took a bunch of Featherweights and made them go down to Bantamweight (before Cyborg) so that’s really what it says about that right? But, I really think that eventually, like Cyborg has only one fight on her contract left, and she’s going to move to the dark side.”
Does that make Scott Coker her Emperor Palpatine? Given he knows Cyborg from his Strikeforce days, he may be able to “use the Force” to draw her into Bellator MMA.
“That would be amazing. It would be a dream come true (to fight Cyborg).”
Who else would be a dream opponent for Rubin if she becomes the world champion?
“You know what? I’m just looking at this division and I’m saying like, 90% of that division has my interest. I want to fight every one of them. When I have the chance to defend a title, hopefully I will fight anybody in there. The division has been dormant and they’re starting to build it back right now. It would be incredible just to fight whoever whenever.”
In closing, Rubin believes that she and Budd are stylistically matched up well to deliver an exciting stand up fight, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t versatile on the ground too.
“You can say that it’s going to be the ‘Clash of the Titans’ because we’re both very similar in our abilities. I’m truly preparing to do whatever it takes, whether it’s striking, grappling, it doesn’t matter to me. I also have a submission game so I’m not a one dimensional fighter.”
Nothing is one dimensional about Olga Rubin — not her ability, not her personality, and certainly not her fights. Later this evening, she might be the biggest, baddest wolf in Bellator.
Complete audio of our interview is embedded above, and complete coverage of “Budd vs. Rubin” resides here at MMA Mania all week long.
To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.