We caught up with Julia Budd, a Canadian mixed martial artist competing in Bellator’s featherweight division. Julia was an accomplished kickboxer who made a successful transition to MMA, building an 8-2 record over the past six years.
Julia is currently in the latter stages of training camp. It’s just over a week out from her next fight at Bellator 162, where she will face the Australian striker, Arlene Blencowe. Julia let us in on what helps her get through camp, what she thinks of her opponent, what the future holds, and gives us her thoughts on the recent trend of MMA athletes missing weight.
The Neversphere: So, you’re getting towards the end of camp now. Is there anything you do that helps you survive what I imagine is a pretty rough few weeks?
Julia: Yeah totally, I actually really enjoy the diet that I have and I love cooking, so all the food I cook has lots and flavour and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. We’ve also got the amazing health bar at our gym, at Gibson MMA, that makes gluten free wraps and salads…Amazing food, so I never really feel like out, if that makes sense?
The Neversphere: I saw on social media that you were in Las Vegas recently, are you heading back to British Columbia, or are you staying in the US to round off your camp?
Julia: No, I’m already back. It’s only a short flight from where we are, it’s only a two-hour flight, so we flew down Sunday night, and trained a few days there down there and then we flew back. I do most of my camp at Gibson MMA in Port Moody, British Columbia.
The Neversphere: And where were you training in Las Vegas?
Julia: At One Kick’s Gym, I was working with Dewey Cooper.
— Julia Budd (@JuliaBudd) April 3, 2013
The Neversphere: Both you and Arlene competed at Bellator 146 back in November 2015, did you interact with her much at that event?
Julia: Yeah, I did actually…She’s a sweetheart. We shared a change room together, so I saw her get ready for her fight, she saw me get ready for my fight. I talked to her a little bit and she seems like a really nice girl.
The Neversphere: Nice, so no animosity there or anything?
Julia: Nope…Not yet…[Laughs]
The Neversphere: And what do you think of her skills?
Julia: You know what? I totally respect her. I’ve watched her fights, I know that she likes to press forward, I feel like she is a fearless fighter and she’s got good power in her hands.
The Neversphere: By the time Bellator 162 comes around it’ll be about 11 months since your last fight. Do you feel like cage rust will be an issue, or is kind of negligible since neither of you have fought since 146?
Julia: I don’t feel like cage rust is an option. I don’t even let it be an option. I visualise the fight so many times, I visualise it going down. I’ve trained so hard and when you train as hard as I do, you don’t give yourself the opportunity to feel cage rust. You just go in there and put it on the line.
I do tonnes of sparring, grappling, wrestling…You name it…Pad work, strength and conditioning, running…You put all these thousands of hours in and it all comes down to three rounds when you get into the cage. I’m just super excited to get in there.
The Neversphere: So how do you see this fight with Arlene playing out?
Julia: I’ve seen it play out so many different ways to be honest…I’ve seen finishes in the first round, second round, I’ve seen it going the distance. I’ve seen me using all my skills; I visualise everything, so I can’t wait.
I think that there’s definitely things that we’ve studied in her fights that I think are going to be an advantage for me. But at the same time it’s like, I feel like she’s probably studied my fights too, so it’s kind of interesting – I love the strategy going into fights. I consider myself to be an intelligent fighter. I love the game plan, you know?…I love everything about fighting. I’m just so excited to get in there.
The Neversphere: I know you’re focused on the task at hand at the moment, but looking past Bellator 162, is there anyone you want to face next?
Julia: Yeah definitely I want to be fighting for the world title fight for Bellator. That was the goal in the beginning and it’s still the goal now. I know that opportunity doesn’t happen for me unless I go out and make a statement in this fight.
The Neversphere: With Bellator putting on more kickboxing events these days, do you have any interest in going back to your roots and having a couple of kickboxing matches too?
Julia: Yeah! I’d definitely be interested in that. But again, I just haven’t taken my eye off my ultimate goal. The goal of getting that world title belt.
The Neversphere: We love music at the Neversphere, so I have to ask; what is your walkout song for this fight and does it have any special meaning to you?
Julia: Yeah! I walk out to the same song every fight…It’s Kendrick Lamar’s War Is My Love. It’s my fighting song. I love it, it just gets me amped.
The Neversphere: We’ve been seeing a trend of MMA athletes missing weight recently. Would you be offended or upset if an opponent missed weight by a significant margin?
Julia: I can’t say that I’d get upset, because it is what it is. All I can really do is control what I do but it is a bit ridiculous when you’re missing by 5, 6, 7 pounds…Or even just three pounds. If you make a commitment to fight at a certain weight, stick to your word. Do it.
I don’t know what those other people are doing, but I just know for myself; making weight is part of the journey. So I always make sure that I’m prepared to make 146/145 pounds when I fight. If you’re not making weight by 5 or 6 pounds, then you’re not trying to make weight. It’s just ridiculous, but hey, I’ve got to do my job.
The Neversphere: Thanks for giving me some of your time Julia, any shout outs you want to give before I let you go?
Julia: Yeah for sure. I want give a shout out to my team at Gibson MMA, also Dewey Cooper, and my friends and family that have been here to support me…Tune in October 21st!