Julia Budd has won five straight since falling to Ronda Rousey. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Julia Budd was Ronda Rousey’s last fight before the Olympic judoka’s rise to superstardom in MMA truly began.
After “Rowdy” armbarred Budd in 39 seconds in a 145-pound bout at Strikeforce Challengers 20, she moved down to bantamweight -- and quickly up in stature. Rousey’s next fight was against Miesha Tate for the Strikeforce bantamweight title, and less than a year later, she broke the gender barrier in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Most of Rousey’s foes have met a similar fate to Budd, falling victim to an increasingly dominant champion inside of a round, or in many cases, less than a minute. Additionally, the Californian has grown into the sport’s brightest crossover star, regardless of gender.
“She’s come so far. Women’s MMA as well,” Budd told Sherdog.com. “She’s a huge star and it’s kind of cool to watch her coming through from MMA and transferring over to mainstream movies and everything.”
Budd has won five straight bouts since her abbreviated effort against Rousey while competing for Invicta FC and now, Bellator MMA. She will make her second appearance for the Scott Coker-led promotion against Roberta Paim Rovel at Bellator 146 on Nov. 20. Budd says that her fight with Rousey proved to be instructional.
“It was my inexperience on the ground. After that fight I really realized I had a lot to learn, and going forward developing my game and me as an athlete,” Budd said. “It taught me a lot of about what I needed to do even though it was a short fight. I looked at it as a really important learning lesson in my life.”
Rousey will defend her belt against Holly Holm at the UFC 193 headliner in Melbourne on Saturday night. Holm, of course, is a boxing world champion who is unbeaten during her MMA foray, including two appearances in the UFC. Like Budd and so many others, Holm will be facing a significant disadvantage on the ground. It’s an obstacle that Budd doesn’t believe the Jackson-Wink product can overcome.
“I think that [Holm’s] got really good standup skills. She’s a good boxer. I don’t think Rousey’s gonna have a hard time with her,” Budd said. “I don’t think she’s gonna play around standing up. I think that she’s probably gonna take her down right away. I think her grappling is gonna be too good for her.”
Should the heavily-favored Rousey get by Holm, a showdown against former Strikeforce 145-pound queen Cristiane Justino will continue to loom large. Although Budd competed against Rousey at featherweight, she believes “Cyborg” should have to face the champion in her current division.
“I think it’s on Cyborg for sure. I think that [Rousey’s] the champ and also testing positive for steroids you kind of lose [having] that say of like, ‘OK, you’ve got to fight at a heavier [weight].’ I think that makes you lose your credibility.”